Estate Planning

What’s Second Spouse Syndrome?

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Second spouse syndrome is a relatively modern issue. This is largely due to changes in society and a greater prevalence of wealth among the masses.

When couples make their Wills and leave everything to each other on first death and their children on second death, they’re making the assumption that nothing will change between their death and their spouse’s death.

However, it’s much more common for people to remarry after the loss of their spouse. It’s socially encouraged more than it once was and results in new family members and the potential mixing of assets.

It’s very unwise to assume that if you leave your assets to your spouse they’ll ultimately go to your children, as so much can occur after your death that you’ve no control over.

When this situation occurs, it can be particularly hurtful to the children. Not only have they lost their parent but may be particularly aggrieved at being unintentionally disinherited.

Even if you keep your Will from before you remarried, stating that everything should go to your children, the act of marriage revokes this Will automatically.

The children’s feelings of grief and injustice often leads to them pursuing court action to recover their inheritance. They can find it particularly galling if the new spouse passes the money to his/her own children if they’ve no direct need for it.

The  Property Protector, Savings Protector and Pension Protector can be used individually or jointly to prevent Second Spouse Syndrome. By leaving your assets in trust, rather than absolutely to your spouse, you can ensure your children ultimately benefit from that inheritance and prevent it from being diverted elsewhere, intentionally or otherwise after your death.

If you’d like to know more about whether you’ve unintentionally disinherited your loved ones or would like to know how at-risk your assets are, get in touch and we’ll talk through your options on 01642 42 45 73.

Please note: Tax and estate planning services are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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