DO YOU HAVE AN ESTRANGED CHILD?
Around a quarter of the clients for whom we prepare Wills are estranged from one or more of their children. What are the reasons behind estrangements, and how does it impact estate planning and Wills where future beneficiaries, perhaps other children, are involved?
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|If you have an estranged child and want to safeguard your other children’s inheritance from a legal challenge.|
|How April Wills® can ensure your estate is inherited by family, not ex-partners or predatory third parties.|
|Avoiding care home fees: How to legally ensure nearly all of your hard-earned assets are not used for care fees.|
|How to nominate in advance someone you trust to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so.|
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What causes estrangements?
The reasons may be many and of a historical nature, but in our experience, it’s more a question of ‘who’ has caused, or at least exacerbated, the breakdown in contact.
For example, a strong-willed daughter-in-law or son-in-law can sometimes cause a wedge between the spouse and their parents, a case of “choose them or me”. Perhaps unfairly assuming that the spouse can or will be influenced by parents who may share different values and views on parenting, lifestyle, budgeting etc. Generally, it’s when our clients are in a second or third marriage. Children may find themselves torn between divorcing parents and may stop contact with one of their parents, thinking that their loyalties should remain with the other, often the mother.
Our aim at April King is to structure our clients’ Wills to leave a positive legacy. We call this “harmony over discord”. Our friendly team of lawyers are all trained to carefully and sympathetically handle what can be challenging and upsetting family dynamics. The dominant emotion is often one of frustration. Our clients have worked hard all of their lives to provide for their family only to be denied the care, love and support from the estranged child and are quite often unsure of the real cause.
How do we deal
Careful planning is needed to ensure that the included children are not left with a potentially drawn-out and stressful court case.
Over the past 30 years, April King Legal has specialised in Wills and Trusts for parents and grandparents where contact has been lost with children and/or grandchildren for a variety of reasons.
This can be quite upsetting for our clients suffering from these issues, but over time we have come to understand not just the emotional impact of estrangement but the legal and practical steps needed to be taken to protect the other children or beneficiaries.
The first thing we often hear is, “we don’t want a son/daughter to receive anything; we want to leave everything to our other children”. Whilst this is perfectly understandable, it’s at this point that great care needs to be taken. Our goal is to protect the inheritance of the non-estranged children - our clients don’t want to leave problems to the children they are close to. We have developed a range of legal strategies to reduce the chances of a successful claim being made.
At April King, our lawyers will look at your individual family circumstances and explain which options would be most suitable for you.
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