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Making Wills The Second Time Around

(21 Posts)
Nonna1949 Sat 17-Aug-13 15:31:50

I would appreciate advice on how to handle a situation regarding my husband's will. We have both been married before, have children from these marriages, and are both in our sixties. Rather belatedly, we are drawing up our wills. He owns the house in which we live and stands to inherit a large sum when his mother dies. I don't own a property and don't have much in the way of savings. At present, I still work part-time, he is retired due to the onset of a debilitating long-term health condition. In his proposed will, he states that he wants me to be able to live in the house for as long as I like after his death and when I no longer want to live there, the house will be sold and the money will go to his children. That is fine by me. As for other assets, he has decided that his 2 adult children will share 80% of any money he has on his death, I will get 20%.

Am I being unreasonable in hoping for a larger share of any money in his estate on his death? I will have to stop working in the near future because he needs more care and as his health deteriorates, my caring responsibilities will increase. I would have continued working for a few more years had he been in good health and I would have been able to build up more savings. As things stand, I will be dependent on a small occupational pension and the state pension.

I thought it would be reasonable to expect 1/3 of any money in his estate on his death to go to me and 2/3 to go to his children. I am the one doing the caring, they live a couple of hours journey away and they visit only occasionally. Because we don't have equal financial status, I am finding it hard to raise the issue with my husband. I suggested that in my will I would like to leave 2/3 of any money I had to my 2 children and 1/3 to him, hoping he would be influenced by my suggestion but it didn't work.

I am surprised at my reaction to his will as I love him to bits and willingly do whatever I have to do to make his life easier. I don't want to appear money-grabbing and selfish but I would like the financial and quality of life 'sacrifice' I am making because of my husband's poor health to be acknowledged by more than words of thanks. Am I being unreasonable?

Nonu Sat 17-Aug-13 15:34:56

No I don"t think you are at all Nonna !!

bluebell Sat 17-Aug-13 15:43:18

I don't think it's the share that counts so much as the absolute amount.

Stansgran Sat 17-Aug-13 16:14:35

I think you should get a lawyer to write your wills with you. And I would pick a divorced female one. It is not money grubbing to be sensible about old age. Children should not expect anything and parents should see their partner well taken care of.

Movedalot Sat 17-Aug-13 16:15:54

Oh how hard. I don't know what to suggest but will tell you how I have been thinking. My husband and I own everything jointly so it is a different situation but my concern is that he might remarry if I were to die first and then our children would get nothing unless he made a new will which is not something he would think about. I would want him to be able to live in this house for as long as he liked but then I would also want him to be able to sell it and move to something smaller if he chose to do so. If I left my half of the house to our children with him having the right to live here as long as he likes it would mean that he could be stuck in a house which was too big for him to manage but if it were sold he might not have enough to buy what he needs. I imagine that you might be in such a position if the house became more than you could manage but the 20% of assets would not be enough to buy you another home.

Could you discuss with his children?

Charleygirl Sat 17-Aug-13 16:24:50

What would happen if you had to leave the house because you could not, for various reasons, be able to cope there any longer? Where would you go and what money would you have to fund it?

What would happen to you if you became ill and needed care while your husband was still alive? Sorry about this scenario but I am being realistic.

I think that more thought needs to be given to the division of house and savings. You definitely need a solicitor to help you draw up your wills asap.

LizG Sat 17-Aug-13 17:16:05

You certainly do need help on this one and don't appear money grabbing at all. If anything were to happen to your OH you could be left with very little the way he is planning things at the moment. You must explain your fears to him and discuss it fully being honest with each other.

obviously I must be wrong but I thought being married meant that you both had certain legal rights over each other's money and property. You don't say how long you have been married but I am amazed that he still has the house in his name. Gosh I should have been in a dreadful state if my OH had worked on this basis! Perhaps he is thinking of 80% for his children to take into consideration money received from his mother but maybe this could be diverted to them earlier (say by a change in her will).

Please forgive me if I have overstepped the mark with my comments and please both of you seek legal advice on this one as you sound to be a lovely couple.

Greatnan Sat 17-Aug-13 17:32:49

I used to work as a financial consultant and I found that many men were completely unrealistic when it came to working out how much their widows would need to continue their usual lifestyle. Most were very much under-insured and were happy to increase their cover when we went through the figures. Would you have any insurance if your husband died?
I agree that it is essential that you explain to your husband exactly what you have told us. It is not being greedy to want to be able to live a decent life, especially if you have had to spend some years nursing him. Has he discussed his will with his children? They may agree that it is unfair.

janeainsworth Sat 17-Aug-13 17:57:57

bluebell spot on.
nonna I can understand you feeling upset, but perhaps your DH's intention is that his children should inherit his mother's money and none of that money should come to you.
I don't think that is unreasonable, provided that you have enough to live comfortably.

numberplease Sat 17-Aug-13 23:34:38

My husband and I have been discussing making our long overdue wills. We`re going to do it together, using the same solicitor. We each know what the other is planning to do, very simple really, we jointly own our house, but there`s hardly any money, no life insurance, we`re each leaving everything to the other, but if one pre-deceases the other, then it will all be divided between our 5 children. I`m surprised, Nonna1949, that your husband hasn`t transferred half the ownership of his house to you.

harrigran Sat 17-Aug-13 23:52:43

You may be better off if DH died intestate, there are strict rules for who gets what. One should not be expected to provide care and then have to struggle afterwards.

Greatnan Sun 18-Aug-13 08:00:39

If your husand died intestate and his estate was worth less than £250,000, you would get all of it. If it were more than that, you would get the first £250,000 and the remainder would be divided equally between his children, but not stepchildren.

Backagain Sun 18-Aug-13 09:07:28

Nonna, please do not underestimate how much you would need to live on.
When DH and I married, in our thirties, we both had good careers. His continued in the normal way until retirement when his (very good) pension became our main source of income. My own ended abruptly with the birth of the first of our very close-in-age children, given that I had no family, friends or support group in this country to help with them. My own professional pension was frozen at that point. We both were due full state pensions. In the event DH died before his was payable, and on his death his professional pension was halved.
I am therefore left with just half of his pension, my own small pension from all those years ago, and the state pension. It sounds quite a lot, but believe me, living costs are pretty much the same for one person as for two. Admittedly for me personally this has come at the worst of all times (mid-move to a town where I know nobody, into a large house - focal point to keep scattered family together - which needs a lot of work which I cannot now complete let alone furnish) but my point is that the bills are the same as when he was with me. You would probably have a 25% reduction in Council tax as a single occupant but you would find your gas, electricity, media, insurance, car running costs - I could go on - exactly the same. Have you checked what it actually costs to run your home? It does mount up and you need to have this information urgently. You then need to add your own living expenses, housekeeping, clothes and so on. And then you need to make very sure that you yourself have the security of a sufficient income to cover all this, bearing in mind future increases in the cost of living, long before your husband even thinks of what he can leave to his adult children.

Galen Sun 18-Aug-13 09:12:20

I could t agree more!

Elegran Sun 18-Aug-13 10:23:52

Nonna Sit down with him and work out exactly what it would cost you to continue to run your home, taking into account all the bills and all your income, and bearing in mind that you are likely to need care of some kind in the future.

The result may surprise you. It will certainly surprise him, if he thinks that you can survive on fresh air in a house that needs regular maintenance if it eventually to be fit to pass on to his family. and if the house (or half of it, at least) does not belong to you, then you have no way to raise capital should you need it in the future. Does he see you moving into a tent when you are no longer able to live indepently in your home?

Nonna1949 Sun 18-Aug-13 14:33:00

Logged on in the hope that one person may have responded and to my delight, I find 14 of you have taken the time to give me advice. Thank you so much. It is clear to me that I must do my homework and get together the facts on how much it costs to maintain our present standard of living, as suggested by Backagain and Elegran, and sit down with my husband and talk things through before we go to see the female (happily married!) solicitor who is drawing up our wills for us.

We have lived together for 7 years and got married a couple of years ago. As he has lived in the house for many years and has paid off the mortgage, he sees it as his asset and not ours and it didn't occur to me to think that we could be joint owners of it. Perhaps the solicitor will point out there is some advantage to him transferring part ownership to me when it comes to reducing liability for care home fees. I don't know - it all feels rather complicated. Because of his disability, I wouldn't imagine he could get life insurance.

I am grateful for your support in encouraging me to face up to reality. You have raised many questions to which I don't have answers - yet! Dealing with this issue is proving more complex than I imagined. None of us knows what our future holds but at least I feel more able to have a go at being better prepared.

specki4eyes Sun 18-Aug-13 15:51:49

Nonna you are not a servant, you are his wife, his next of kin; the home you share is jointly yours whether you contributed to it or not. You could register your half interest in it under the Married Woman's Property Act. I'm sorry, I'm sure your DH is very nice and you love him but this is not fair. His children should only have a call on his estate AFTER you have been adequately provided for. I'm sure your solicitor will point this out. His children will benefit from the sale of the house after your death - why in the name of all that's holy should they have his savings too?

FlicketyB Sun 18-Aug-13 16:17:47

When an aunt and uncle, who were both in second marriages made their wills, they left their whole estates to each other in trust for the survivors life.

When the husband died his estate was left in the hands of trustees who administered it for his wife's benefit, which essentially meant she got the interest and if capital had been required for house repairs etc this would have been paid out and when she died his whole estate was divided between his children and hers went to her children.

Nonna I can see how your DH is torn between wanting to leave all that he and his late/divorced wife built up between them to their children but also care for a second person who has become very dear to him. Why not ask the solicitor for advice, she will be an expert on the law on this subject and it will not be the first time a problem like yours has come before her. There are ways of satisfying both sides and I am sure at heart that is what your DH wants to do.

Nonna1949 Thu 29-Aug-13 20:25:13

I thought those of you who gave me wise advice on this issue might like to know that my husband and I have been to a solicitor to make our wills. Before we went, as you encouraged me to do, I had told my husband my concerns about not being adequately financially provided for. As Greatnan suggested, he was woefully unrealistic about how much either of us would need as income if one of us died. The astute solicitor supported me on the day so that I am now much better provided for than when I initially expressed my concerns on Gransnet. The experience has brought home to me the importance of being financially independent. Thank you again.

numberplease Thu 29-Aug-13 21:22:44

So pleased that this has worked out for you Nonna.

specki4eyes Fri 30-Aug-13 18:48:21

Gransnet Power!! Yay!!!

Well done Nonna!