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Do the right thing

Second marriages and step-children can cause estate-planning dilemmas, so how can you convince your client not to let their heart rule their head, asks Fay Copeland

20 January 2014

Inheritance disputes are on the rise, which is partly driven by the economic downturn and the incentive to fight for more money. But there’s also the impact of the modern family unit. One in three marriages breaks down before the 15th anniversary according to 2010 figures from the Office for National Statistics – up from a fifth of marriages in 1970. These complex separated families, differing interests and, quite often, underlying resentments can cause estate-planning problems.

When I sit down with clients who have been married previously, the starting point is
making sure they have an up-to-date will. It could not be more important as the intestacy rules will not begin to deal with the different interests that need to be accommodated.

One of the most frequent issues I encounter is where a client has remarried but has their own ...

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