What is sideways disinheritance and how can it be avoided?

What is sideways disinheritance

So called sideways disinheritance occurs when beneficiaries (most often children of a first marriage) do not inherit their intended share of an estate due to remarriage.  

Examples of sideways disinheritance

Take as an example, a situation where you pass away and your partner re-marries and then passes away without making a Will (intestate). Your children’s intended inheritance is likely to pass to the new spouse’s family leaving your children from your first marriage with nothing.

Another example is where you could be in a second relationship and only have basic wills in place, leaving everything to each other and then the children.  If you pass away the surviving partner could change their Will and cut out your children altogether.

Imagine how complicated this could be for those in second or third relationships with children from previous families.

How to protect children from sideways disinheritance?

It is actually very easy to put protection in place to stop this happening to your children. The first way is by having comprehensive wills to cover the position. But even this may not be sufficient. Depending on your circumstances a discretionary trust could be advisable to protect your children’s inheritance.

Are you a beneficiary who has fallen foul of the sidewise disinheritance trap and feel that you have not received what you should have been entitled to under a will or alternatively, are you looking to draw up a will and want to make sure that your assets are divided fairly and in accordance with your wishes? Why not contact us on 020 7537 7000 or email peter@london-law.co.uk and see what we can do for you.

This blog was written and updated on 14th February 2024 by Alexander JLO’s senior partner, Peter Johnson and is correct at the time of publication. Peter has decades of experience working in most areas of law and has dealt with numerous challenges to wills over the years. Peter’s profile can be found here: https://www.reviewsolicitors.co.uk/48002929/peter-charles-johnson

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