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  • Writer's pictureAnna Kmiec

Don’t let your inheritance go sideways

After a loved one dies, the last thing you want is to dispute their Will. However, if you’re a child who becomes a victim of sideways disinheritance, you’ll likely feel there’s no alternative.

With divorce rates increasing and more people having blended families, this type of disinheritance is becoming more common. It is also contributing to the three in four people who are experiencing a Will, inheritance or probate dispute in their life*.

Sideways disinheritance is when a beneficiary, usually a child, loses out on an inheritance from their parent as a result of a new marriage or relationship.

This can happen by accident or on purpose. Either way, it often results in a challenge to the Will and causes emotions to run high in what’s already a difficult time. Plus, the deceased person’s final estate is likely to be reduced significantly by the subsequent legal fees.

To avoid this upset, it’s important to be aware of how sideways disinheritance can occur and put steps in place to avoid it.

How does sideways disinheritance happen?

There are a few different ways sideways disinheritance of your children can happen.

  • You pass away. Your partner remarries and dies without making a Will. This means your children’s intended inheritance will likely go to the new spouse’s family, leaving your children with nothing.

  • You enter into a second relationship and only have a basic Will. This leaves everything to your partner and then to your children. Your partner could then change their Will after you die, cutting your children out of their inheritance.

These risks are also possible if your divorced or separated partner enters a new relationship making a basic Will only.

The likelihood of your children missing out on the assets you intend for them only increases as new relationships are formed and as modern families become more complex.

How to stop sideways disinheritance

Luckily, as easy as it is for sideways disinheritance to happen, it is also straightforward to put protections in place for your children.

Make your Will watertight

One of the best solutions is to make a comprehensive, protective Will. This should cover the sideways disinheritance eventuality while still providing for your partner or spouse after your death.

Encouraging your partner to create a Will that mirrors yours will give some protection however, such planning is still limited. Such Wills will need to be updated as circumstances change.

Create a trust

Safeguarding your children inheritance can only normally be achieved by using a Trust. A Trust is like a safety deposit box with your assets transferring in after your death.

The surviving spouse or partner can continue to benefit from the assets that are in Trust but those same assets are protected for your beneficiaries, such as children.

By using a Trust in your Will, your assets will be protected, and conflicts are less likely to arise.

Get expert advice

Each family situation is different. This means each Will needs to be unique to your needs. Get professional advice on the best solution for you and your family.

To get free, professional advice on how to protect your assets call us on 01788 712 018, send us an email: to book a FREE initial appointment.

*IBB Law UK Inheritance Disputes Report 2022

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