Sideways Disinheritance and the accidental Gold Digger.
Gold diggers – accidental or otherwise and sideways disinheritance are increasingly diluting family inheritances. Most of us want to look after our own families, without overly restricting them. But we do want to avoid bad legal planning or laziness from passing what we have built up in a lifetime on to folk quite unconnected to our own bloodline. And that is just what happens every day when people have not planned properly.
A reader says: “My son has married a gold digger, and I am afraid she will divorce him as soon as he inherits my money. So she will end up with half of everything I have built up. I really don’t want that to happen. What can I do?”
Answer: Set up a Family Bank which will protect your assets for your bloodline should it prove necessary.
The first of these is by far the most common: disinheritance through ignorance of the best way to set up legal plans (whiuch is where we come in):
Sideways Disinheritance 1: remarriage and new relationships.
With people living longer, it is perfectly usual for people to re-marry after their first husband or wife has died. Sometimes it is just for companionship. After all, who wants to spend 20 or more years on their own? The trouble is that the family “fortune” is then highly likely to pass entirely to the new spouse or partner. They will generally either not make a Will or leave it to their OWN family. Either way, the effect is the same – your family lose out. Generally speaking there is nothing they can do about it apart from making lawyers wealthier!
Just recently a couple of Irish men married each other purely for the Inheritance Tax benefits – they never will be more than friends. But that potentially clever move may disinherit the family of the first to die.
You may think that the “new” partner should be cut out of the Will. However, even if they are not married, they probably have a right to claim under the Family Provisions Act. Net result, lawyers get wealthier, bad feeling everywhere and no one is happy.
Sideways disinheritance 2 – Gold Digger Golden Opportunity.
It is not at all uncommon for an inheritance to trigger a divorce where one of the partners is looking for a way out and now sees the opportunity to get out of the relationship with the bonus of a substantial financial settlement which would not have been available even a few weeks before. In fact a golden opportunity!
With people often on second, third or even fourth relationships, this sort of claim on divorce or under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 is becoming commonplace. And lawyers looking for work won’t be shy about suggesting a claim!
In fact, the couple doesn’t even have to be married – if they are living together it doesn’t take long to have a claim under the Act. And just because a divorce is over doesn’t mean that a further claim can’t be brought if circumstances change – your inheritance could be enough to trigger such a claim.
But to return to your son, if you create a Family Bank Trust during your lifetime, after your death, your family trustees will be in charge. Your child could certainly be one and might see the trap of taking the inheritance straight away rather than more subtly. We would, therefore, guide him (if asked) to take an interest free loan from The Family Bank Trust. Gold Digger potentially thwarted!
This way your son has received his inheritance, which he can use as he wishes, but his total assets are exactly the same as they were before as he “owes” The Family Bank a debt exactly equivalent to the inheritance. Problem solved!
Contact us and the chances are that everyone will be better off with The Family Bank as a solution. Generally speaking, they are set up so that the new partner is looked after for as long as is necessary, but then the Bank switches to looking after your original family. One can’t say it is a perfect solution, but it does mean the right people are looked after, and the “wrong” people do not. It is very much a tailored solution, so why not call us?
Gold Diggers and sideways disinheritance.