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Second Families – Succession Considerations

23 March 2020

  • For more information:
  • Partner
  • T: 0131 222 2939

The modern family dynamic continues to change and has certainly moved away from its traditional form consisting of a married couple and their children. As more people are entering into a second relationship, marriage or civil partnership, it is important that they fully consider the effective succession planning options available to them, including putting a Will in place.

If you are entering into a second relationship, the following points should be considered.

    Ross Brown

    Ross BrownPartner 

  • As it is common for couples to provide for the other upon death, if you have children from a previous relationship, it is important to consider how you can provide for your spouse* or partner while also ensuring that your estate will be protected and ultimately pass to your children.
  • How you are able to protect your new spouse / partner’s estate from combining with your own estate and therefore being subject to a potential Legal Rights claim from any children from a previous relationship upon your death.
  • If you have an estranged spouse or civil partner and have not formally divorced, do you have a separation agreement in place which renounces your entitlement in the other’s estate? Without this, how can you restrict your estranged spouse’s entitlement?
  • How should you and your spouse / partner’s estate be distributed among children from a previous relationship and your current relationship in order to ensure a fair division?
  • Pensions – Are the nominated beneficiaries reflective of your current family situation?

These issues can be addressed by preparing a Will.

Some of the benefits of preparing a Will

By preparing a Will, you will be able to decide who should benefit from your estate and determine when and how they should receive this benefit. By including a Trust arrangement in your Will, this is an effective way of ensuring your new spouse / partner will be provided for and will also allow you to safeguard your estate against potential third party claims, including Legal Rights claims, and care home costs, ensuring your ultimate beneficiaries will benefit.

Preparing a Will can also restrict the claim of an estranged spouse or civil partner on your estate should you die during the period between separating and becoming legally divorced.

As you think about the terms of your Will, it is important to consider your pension nominations and whether these reflect your current wishes or whether they need to be updated.

If you think that any of the concerns discussed above may apply to your own circumstances and you wish to meet with a member of our Wills, Estates and Succession Planning team, then please get in touch.

*All references to spouse should be taken to include civil partner.


Ross Brown, Partner  & Registered Trust & Estate Practitioner / 0141 225 4855


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