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how can i make sure my estate passes to my children if my partner/spouse remarries?

This is very similar to the section on children from previous relationships. However, here we are talking about making certain arrangements in advance of the situation arising in order to bring certainty for the first to die. A Will with provisions for children to inherit at second death but which leaves everything to a spouse at first death does not offer absolute certainty.

Children can potentially lose their inheritance if their surviving parent remarries or has a new parter. This may not be a particular concern of yours but if it is please use the READ MORE link, watch the video or simply call the helpline.

Remarriage is very common these days as people live longer and retain active health for longer. It is very common at remarriage, or even before, for estates to be combined. Any assets owned jointly will automatically pass to the survivor. This means that the survivor will own all such assets outright regardless of what is in a Will because that is the effect of owning assets jointly.

Many people are unaware that remarriage automatically revokes any Will previously made including any Will made with a previous spouse or partner. Even if there is no marriage a new partner can easily mean that it becomes appropriate to change a Will. If a new Will is written in favour of a new spouse at first death the surviving spouse then owns the estate. They are ordinarily under no obligation to their step-children.  It becomes easy to see how the estate could move away from children and this does happen. They may well have a strong moral claim but unless the right arrangements are made the law does not support it.

As mentioned elsewhere on this site, the survivor still has a life to live and may well need to benefit from the entire estate during their lifetime. However, there is advice we can give and arrangements that can be made that are simple and cost effective. They help to protect both the survivor and the children. And they don’t complicate your finances now.

Of course, there is no way of knowing whether the problem will ever arise and we have no wish to scaremonger. But if this is something that does concern you then we shall be pleased to advise. We are experienced in dealing with these sometimes sensitive matters. It is never a bad idea to be properly informed so if this is an area of potential concern for you please call our helpline for a no obligation chat.

Protecting your child's inheritance