I was interested to read the latest marriage rates statistics from the Office for Nationals Statistics. The bit that interested me most was that the greatest percentage increase in rates of marriage occurred amongst men and women aged 65 and over.
Many of my Will clients would fall into this age group and many of them are marrying for the second time, having been previously widowed.
This can pose challenges when preparing their Wills. Naturally they want to look after their new husband or wife, but they would also like their savings and value of their property to ultimately pass to their children and grandchildren rather than their new spouse’s family. This is where the use of a simple Trust called a Life Interest Trust can be helpful – this clause in a Will can allow an individual to leave assets – normally their share of their house – to Trustees and allow their husband or wife to have the benefit of these assets for the remainder of their life (and thus in most cases continue to live in the marital home). When the surviving spouse dies in the future then the children of the first to die would receive their Inheritance at that stage.
There can be Inheritance Tax complications with this and indeed the Inheritance Tax position is generally worse if the couple have decided not to get married.
A further complication can arise if either or both of the couple marrying have previously been widowed – in that case they may want to try to make sure they can capture the Inheritance Tax allowance of their first spouse and maximise the sums that can be paid tax free to the children.
We are always happy to talk through your circumstances with you and would suggest that if your circumstances fit the scenarios I have outlined above you seek professional advice.