What is sideways disinheritance?

Remarrying is a celebratory affair – two people finding happiness after divorce or becoming widowed. If a single parent is lucky enough to find someone that they want to share the remainder of their life with, unfortunately that happy day can also be the trigger for future issues over inheritance.

Sideways disinheritance is the name used to describe the circumstances where children, often unintentionally, don’t inherit their parents’ share of an estate due to remarriage.

If you pass away, your property generally passes straight to your partner, which may well be exactly as you would want it. However, if your surviving partner remarries, the share of the property that you left becomes common property, with the marriage voiding any instructions in a previous Will.

In the new marriage, if your surviving partner passes first, joint property transfers to their new partner. This effectively means that the share of your home that you intended to go to your children after your partner’s passing could go to a complete stranger. In some cases, when the new partner dies, your children’s share of the estate could even pass directly to their children.

It’s natural that a couple remarrying will want their new partner to inherit if anything happens to them. We would all want the person we love to be able to go on living in their home after we pass. The problems occur when they pass – without the goodwill of the inheriting partner, the property will pass to their children and not yours.

Even families who have always got along can be put under huge strain following the death of a loved one. The answer is to make your wishes as clear as possible before you pass.

 The first step is to make clear instructions in your Will and the second is to arrange a Property Protection Trust (PPT) that that works alongside your Will, to ensure that what you want to happen actually does. It works by passing your share of your home into a trust, providing legal protection for your home and assets, ensuring you leave more of your estate to who you intended when you die.

Arranging a PPT means the surviving spouse can live in the property as long as they wish. But when they die, the original share of the property held in trust will pass to the beneficiaries you have named.

For more information on how to prevent sideways disinheritance and all additional benefits of a property protection trust, please visit http://www.goldencharter.co.uk or call 0800 111 4514.