Second Marriage Wills

Emeritus Legal advise on second marriage wills

We are often asked about the best way of dealing with second marriages and how, for example, you provide for the second spouse, particularly, if there are children of the first marriage. Again, this can be very sensitive and sometimes because of a potential conflict of interest, we may deal with one of the parties only. We would, however, try to see if the provisions of the wills could be agreed upon.

We would have to take a detailed list of the assets and liabilities and who owns what. If the majority of the assets and matrimonial home are in, for example, one spouse’s name then one possibility is for the other spouse to have a life interest in the property and take an income from the available capital. The surviving spouse would be able to live in the property and derive an income for the underlying capital while she is alive and not re-married which would allow the underlying capital to be preserved, as far as is possible, for the children of the first marriage.

Each case is different and we would have to take detailed instructions from both parties to see if they agree on the provisions in the wills. There is nothing stopping either spouse making gifts to the children to try and equate and balance the competing interests.

It requires a balancing act. Clearly, on the death of the first party to a second marriage there is a potential for a dispute to occur, particularly, if there is no will or if the surviving spouse or children believe they have been inadequately provided for by the death of their parent.

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