Wills and Probate

Can I leave money to my child but not their spouse?

Victoria Harcourt is a chartered legal executive in our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team. She has particular experience in probate and estate administration.

Here she explains what you can do if you want to leave your money to your children but not their spouses.

If your child’s marriage is problematic with a risk of divorce, any inheritance money your child receives could be at risk when a financial settlement is made.

A court could decide that the spouse is entitled to half or more of the cash.

The inheritance could also be at risk if the spouse faces bankruptcy or invests in a high-risk business.

How to protect your estate

If you want to protect your estate so that only your child benefits, you may want to consider this when writing your will.

Leave a will

Without a will, your estate might not pass to the people you would want to receive it.

For example, let’s say you are married with children. Your partner would inherit the first £270,000 of your estate plus all of your personal possessions.

The remainder of your estate is split in half. Your spouse gets one half and your children share the remainder equally.

This might mean your children receive far less than your spouse.

If your children are married, any money that they receive could be considered a matrimonial asset, should they divorce in the future.

Consider putting assets in trust

You can take steps to protect your assets for your children and I would advise putting the assets into a discretionary trust.

Trustees can then use these assets to benefit your children. You could leave a letter outlining how you would like this done.

However, cash held in trust is not 100% guaranteed to be safe from divorce.

It’s a good idea to contact us to ensure that you structure your estate in the best way possible for your circumstances. The court may still decide to take trust assets into account as a financial resource when assessing how much each party should receive.

Where you can, try to protect assets as far as possible by setting up a trust to benefit your children, rather than leaving them money outright.

Contact us

If you need help from my team regarding writing a will or setting up a trust, we can help. Simply contact us on 01772 799 600.

Article by Victoria Harcourt, chartered legal executive

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