Succession Planning - It's a must.
Many clients avoid succession planning, particularly in even the simplest blended family situations where there are children from previous relationships for example, as they cannot envisage a solution to achieve a fair outcome, and are simply overwhelmed.
There is usually a wish to provide for the security of the surviving spouse, while ensuring that eventually assets will pass to children from previous relationships. Leaving everything absolutely to a surviving spouse and hoping that equity will prevail is often not the answer. The natural children of the deceased may fear that the surviving step-parent will re-partner, dissipate the assets, or simply change his or her will and not provide for them from their deceased parents assets as expected, or agreed.
This could trigger a relationship breakdown with the surviving step-parent, and a claim against the estate of the deceased parent pursuant to the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1972, as a step-child cannot later make a claim against the step-parents estate. The estate on death which may be subject to a claim consists of assets owned solely by the deceased, his or her share of assets owned jointly as tenant in common, and super if directed to the Legal Personal Representative.
Although death cannot be avoided, many of these issues can. We can advise on options to ensure that assets provide security and reach their intended destination. We can also assist with probate and the administration of deceased estates, and provide executors with invaluable counsel and guidance.
We have seen these unnecessary repercussions arise before, which cause more stress and heartache to families during a difficult time.
This Alert is intended as general information only. It does not purport to be comprehensive advice or legal advice. Readers must seek professional advice before acting in relation to these matters.