Want to keep your assets in the family after a relationship split?
Find out how a thoughtful woman navigated a potential problem with her daughter’s “curious” live-in partner.
Did you know family law property settlement rules may result in a gift you left a beneficiary being shared with their estranged spouse, no matter how poorly that spouse may have behaved?
Most people don’t take simple measures to reduce asset leakage that follows a beneficiary’s partnership split. They don’t realise how much of their hard-earned assets may ultimately be redirected to a hostile family law combatant, claiming a slice of their beneficiary’s inheritance. This doesn’t have to be the case.
Recently an elderly woman approached us because she felt uneasy with a family newcomer. Although her daughter seemed happy, our client felt uneasy with her new choice of partner. This new man had been married before and boasted about how he got the house when he split with her previous wife. He was also quite the detective, constantly prying for information and seemed delighted to discover our client’s extensive share portfolio.
Another red flag went up for our client following the death of a close friend. The client’s friend, a widower, had left his entire estate to his university-aged granddaughter. She lost a significant portion of that gift when she subsequently split with her live-in boyfriend. It seemed unfair but that’s how the system works.
Sometimes it’s many years after a will-maker dies, that a beneficiary’s inheritance is under attack. But, regardless of when it happens, if a relationship hits the rocks the money inherited becomes part of the matrimonial pool of assets.
The beneficiary whose assets are under attack may be your spouse if you die and he or she re-partners, or it might be your children.
The great news is there are estate planning measures a person can take, to reduce the leakage of wealth to outsiders.
And, that is what our client did in this instance. We set up a special trust to lessen the financial impact of separation if her daughter’s new partner decided on a sudden change of scenery after our client died.
People change and not all relationships last. In fact, almost half of all marriages and de facto relationships fail to survive long term. Simple steps taken now may create a safe harbour against uncertainty later.
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