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Legal & money

Changing wills- how to start the conversation?

(23 Posts)
Cabbie21 Fri 23-Apr-21 15:17:08

We are often reminded we should update our wills as circumstances change.
It is something DH and I have mentioned in the past 12 months but not got round to yet. He will hate it if I nag him, but I am not sure how he would feel if I changed mine without his knowledge.
Our wills are similar, in that we each have two children from former marriages, which we have taken into consideration by splitting our estates three ways, with a third each to our own children and a third to each other. Now that we are older, I am not sure this makes sense, as the surviving spouse ‘s children might end up inheriting more than our own children. We have different numbers of grandchildren now, and DH has a part share in a property to cause complications.
I just can’t find the right words to get the conversation going, let alone the right solutions.

Calendargirl Fri 23-Apr-21 15:24:23

How about;

“ This pandemic has made me think quite a lot about the future. I know it’s a while since we made our wills, (...years?) and I wonder if it’s maybe time we looked at them again. How do you feel about that?”

Hopefully, he might agree. If not, if he says no, they are fine as they are, then you will have to say you would like to re-visit them as you feel time and circumstances have moved on.

Good luck!

Calendargirl Fri 23-Apr-21 15:27:19

P.S.

I wouldn’t change yours without telling him, but if he is not keen, at the end of the day it’s your decision how you would like your estate to be divided. But I would not want to do it in secret personally.

Cabbie21 Fri 23-Apr-21 15:32:21

Thanks Calendargirl. We got that far last year, but no further. Probably it was time for his snooze or next TV programme. He knows it needs doing and now that things are opening up seems a good time. But DH hates anything that suggests he is not immortal, so it is difficult to pick the subject up again.

Calendargirl Fri 23-Apr-21 15:41:49

Yes Cabbie I know what you mean, but in a different way.

My DH is quite deaf, I would have had his ears checked last year but then Covid and Lockdown happened. When we saw our DS recently, not having seen him for some time, he said “Dad is really deaf! You need to get him a hearing aid!”

Which of course I know, but he is touchy about it, and arguments ensue! But the bullet must be bit!

Not as important as wills, but just to say I know how awkward some conversations are.

Katie59 Fri 23-Apr-21 17:29:23

Please don’t change yours without discussing it with him, it will cause real trouble. A 3 way split sounds reasonable, don’t complicate the issue with grandchildren, your children can decide if they want to pass any on. Men often are first to go so unless you have any existing conditions so you gain, but that’s a lottery.
You didn’t mention what happens to the house, do you get occupancy for life or does it get sold to pay the beneficiaries.

Cabbie21 Sat 24-Apr-21 10:34:14

We own our home as tenants in common, with the surviving spouse having the right to stay there, then each half is split between our children. So no problem there.
Not sure about the other property, how that works, and DH needs to sort his will to include that.

Nannarose Sat 24-Apr-21 11:28:59

I know that it means starting a conversation, but we always review our 'affairs' every January, even if the agreement is to keep them the same. It means there is a regular time to have a think and a talk

cornishpatsy Sat 24-Apr-21 12:00:22

Maybe he is happy to leave his the way it is. Just tell him you are changing yours.

Katie59 Sat 24-Apr-21 12:53:55

If only everyone had got sensible wills like yours it would save a lot of heartache

MerylStreep Sat 24-Apr-21 13:07:05

We don’t have children together but 3 children between us.
We have 6 grandchildren.
When our estate is is all settled the grandchildren will receive a fixed sum of money. The remaining money will be divided between the 3 children.
Re the share in a property I would suggest that that is sold and the money distributed evenly.

Keeper1 Mon 03-May-21 11:33:33

We each have children from previous marriages. We have mirror wills leaving everything to each other. He has no contact at all with his daughter for over ten hours and extremely limited before that. The house is in his name though would that be a problem,?

M0nica Mon 03-May-21 11:53:29

make an appointment with a solicitor and present him with a fait accompli.

Esspee Mon 03-May-21 12:07:19

Keeper1

We each have children from previous marriages. We have mirror wills leaving everything to each other. He has no contact at all with his daughter for over ten hours and extremely limited before that. The house is in his name though would that be a problem,?

Yes indeed that would be a major problem Keeper1.
You need to discuss this and get a solicitor to draw up an appropriate will.
I am in the midst of doing this. It will cost me £150. Money well spent in my opinion.

Witzend Mon 03-May-21 12:16:33

If he’s going to be hesitant or difficult about it, I’d honestly just go ahead and change you own as you see fit. I know it’d be better/nicer to have him on board, but it’s not essential.
Personally I’d book to see a solicitor fairly soon.

Katie59 Mon 03-May-21 13:56:47

Esspee

Keeper1

We each have children from previous marriages. We have mirror wills leaving everything to each other. He has no contact at all with his daughter for over ten hours and extremely limited before that. The house is in his name though would that be a problem,?

Yes indeed that would be a major problem Keeper1.
You need to discuss this and get a solicitor to draw up an appropriate will.
I am in the midst of doing this. It will cost me £150. Money well spent in my opinion.

I have to ask why you think it is a problem.
If mirror wills are in force the survivor gets everything
If the husband dies first her security is assured

Esspee Mon 03-May-21 23:34:01

My understanding Katie59 is that mirror wills present the problem that the partner can, at any time, and without your knowledge have a new will drawn up with completely different bequests. In addition should she die first there is no protection for her children as the husband could be pressurised to leave everything to his children. We all trust our husbands but as he gets more frail his daughter could exert pressure, and of course vice versa should the husband die first.
I would also question why the property is in his sole name.
In Scotland children and surviving spouse have a legal right to inherit part of the moveable estate regardless of what the will says. You cannot disinherit them. I do not know if this applies in other countries.

Katie59 Tue 04-May-21 14:16:55

Any will can be changed at any time, if I had a mutual will (which I don’t) I would leave well alone, because I would get all the marital property, including the house regardless of who’s name it is in.
In many cases when children are involved the surviving spouse gets the house for life, it seems in this case the daughter is estranged, if in the future she returned then I would be more concerned.

Does anyone know, can a mutual will be legally changed without informing the other spouse. In England you cannot disinherit a spouse either but the house would usually be sold which is not ideal for many.

Cabbie21 Tue 04-May-21 14:43:28

I thought mutual wills are rarely made these days. Sorry, I am no expert but I don’t think they can be changed.

As the OP, I thought I would come back and say we have had another brief conversation about DH’s share of another property. It is trickier than I thought, and not something I want or need to get involved with. But he ought to clarify the position in his will, and won’t thank me if I tell him so.
No point in us both going to a solicitor together as we have different situations and concerns and there could be almost a conflict of interest.
We have spent loads of time in the house together this past year, but the most important conversations are the most difficult. When we are in the same room, either the Tv is on or he is asleep, or both. I am just part of the furniture.

Katie59 Tue 04-May-21 19:55:28

Mutual wills are common enough with first marriages and the sensible arrangement for a family situation, the surviving spouse can then decide what needs to be done according to the present circumstance.
With second marriages when both have “assets” they are not so often used if there are previous children.

It gets more complicated if business or other assets are held, in your case where there is a part share in property, as long as there is no restriction like a joint tenancy it will be included in the estate

As you say the surviving spouses children would eventually inherit more, so you might think it fairer to divide half each. BUT, how would the estate pay the beneficiaries, plus any expenses and tax, maybe the house would need to be sold, in fact it may still need to be sold with the existing wills.

If you would want to stay in the same house then padding occupancy for life for the surviving spouse would be good, does your husband realize the house may need to be sold.

Keeper1 Tue 04-May-21 20:37:38

Thanks for the advice however he would never have the gumption to revise his will as he leaves everything to me to organise. His daughter is estranged so not sure how much of a problem she could be. He has made no provision for his daughter. I can see I need to do something about provision for my boys so I will probably be the one making changes.

M0nica Wed 05-May-21 22:53:29

I had never heard of mutual wills until this thread, having investigated them, I wouldn't touch one with a barge-pole. All kinds of thing could happen between the deaths of partner 1 and partner 2 that make a mutual will unfair or parts of it unenforceable.

CanadianGran Wed 05-May-21 23:44:02

Cabbie, I would go ahead with making an appointment but let him know of course and invite him to come along or not.

I know this is something we need to do as well. Ours is pretty straightforward, but we keep teasing our youngest that he would have to go live with his aunt and uncle if anything happen to us (he's 27 now).