Opinions on what is fair in this scenario.

Brother and sister in law are making wills. They married last year. He has 1 child and she has 4, all grown up.

Both are in their late 50s and both had been married before and widowed.

When they moved in together they went 50/50 buying a house and they split any household costs evenly.

Now they are making a new will each they have different ideas as to what is fair.

He feels that his son should receive 50% of whatever they leave as they have each contributed evenly. She thinks that each child should receive 20% of whatever they leave. At the moment she has quite a large lump sum in savings so assuming that neither of them end up going into care there maybe some of that for the kids to inherit.

Who is right?


  • BorisThomsonBorisThomson PPR
    1.7K Posts
    Given that they are both in later years, I would say 50% to his side of the family and 50% to hers. Their wealth is primarily from before they were together, and the 4 children are not his, it would be unfair for a high proportion of his assets to go to her children.
  • lika_86lika_86 Forumite
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    How do they hold the house? Joint tenants or tenants in common? If joint tenants then it will go to the surviving spouse, so it'll only be the money to divvy up. If he dies first she'll get the house, have her substantial savings and will then be able to amend her will however she wants. If she dies first then he'll get the house and her savings will be divvied up according to the will. He can then leave the house to whoever he wants in the will.
  • FireflyawayFireflyaway Forumite
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    I think 50% to each side as far as the house goes. If she brought lots of savings into the marriage I'd say its fair to keep that separate for her kids. Or don't leave anyone anything? I'd much rather see my parents live a great life than leave me anything.
  • mattpaintmattpaint Forumite
    294 Posts
    Half goes to his side, half to hers. Life interest in the property for each other.
  • unholyangelunholyangel Forumite
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    How would SiL feel if she was the parent of 1 and your brother was the parent of 4? Would she still be wanting it to be split equally 5 ways?

    Different if perhaps they had married when the children were very young and had actually been acting in a parental role towards them for a significant period of time, but if they're all adults then imo the brothers way is the fairest
    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means - Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
  • buildersdaughterbuildersdaughter Forumite
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    I think that the mot common solution is this:
    to hold the house as 'tenants in common'
    to keep assets from before the marriage separately
    to agree on how savings from this point will be held

    Each will leaves their share of the house to their child(ren) with the spouse holding a lifetime interest (caution - see below!)
    Each leaves their own assets / savings to their own child(ren)
    Their main discussion then needs to be about leaving joint savings. Details often depend on how much that amounts to.

    If going down the tenants in common - lifetime interest - route, you need to make sure that the surviving spouse has the option to sell and move somewhere more suitable, with the children keeping their financial interest in the new property. I have a friend stuck in a completely unsuitable house because as soon as it is sold, she loses all rights.
  • KynthiaKynthia Forumite
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    They should maybe get advice. If the house is owned as joint tenants and money is in joint accounts, then what will actually left to any children should one of them die as anything joint will go to their spouse? Then who knows what will be left to inherit when the remaining spouse goes as they could spend or change their will?

    Just to answer your initial question though, if their individual wealth is fairly even and they are talking about when they both go then more 50% to each side of the family. It reflects what would have happened should they not have gotten together.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
  • BrassicWomanBrassicWoman Forumite
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    swingaloo wrote: »
    Who is right?

    No one; there's no objective answer. And it's also no one else's business.

    This is the kind if "debate" that makes people who don't like cats, leave everything to the cat's home.
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  • DigForVictoryDigForVictory Forumite
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    I like the 50/50 house while we're alive & whomever lives the longest gets to divvy what's left their way.

    Which could mean fistfights at the funeral but there you go. (And what if they die in a car accident Together? Last life support machine switched off could play havoc with testators intent.)

    Both an informed conversation with a solicitor and a strategic life insurance policy seem indicated. Along with a thick letter explaining how this situation came to be for the children, if they are not fully informed.
  • pinkshoespinkshoes Forumite
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    They need to make sure they are tenants in common.

    They can then leave their own 50% share split between their own children.
    (So his child will get the full 50% and her 4 will share her 50%).

    They then need to make sure that the will states that the surviving partner has a lifetime interest in the house e.g. They can remain in it until they die and the children have no right to demand their share.
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
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