stepchildren and wills?

My partner and I are planning on buying our first home together in the next couple of years.

We currently both live separately in our own (mortgaged) houses.

Partner has one stepchild from a previous marriage.

We had a discussion last week about what would happen to the house we are buying together should one of us die.
We are planning to buy as joint owners and put an equal amount of deposit into it.
I have no children so I'm quite happy to leave my share and anything else to him.
However, my partner wants to leave his business + his share of the home + anything else to his son and I get zero...
he has no pension or life insurance - hes self employed and doesnt pay into any pension if thats at all relevant. We are also not married and probably wont be, have no children of our own and probably won't have any either.

The discussion turned into an argument as I said it's not fair that i would effectively be left with only half of a house and that the other half would be given to his son whereby he could effectively either insist I pay him out or just make things awkward like moving a girlfriend in or worse, his mother!
He wants to ensure his son has a home upon his death and that i have no power to kick his son out (not that I would but i guess you cant control anything once you're gone!)

I have heard about a trust document whereby the 50% would only become effective on my death and that I am allowed to remain in the home after my partners death, but that then means I am limited to having to stay in the house, so I couldn't sell up and move on if i needed to downsize for example, or if i should meet someone else they couldn't move in etc? And if his son was under 18 at the time then wouldn't the beneficiary be automatically given to the child's mother?

Its all just so complicated, i can see why he would want to protect his son but at the same time it feels like ive worked hard all my life to be left with not a lot as there's no way I could afford to give his son 50% and if he insisted on buying me out then (hopefully) i'll be in my 80's/90's before the worst should happen to my partner and then i doubt my share would buy very much at that point.

It probably sounds like im being quite morbid or grabby which I'm not, i just want to make sure I'm not buying a house with someone else and making a big mistake and constantly worrying about how i will afford to keep my home in the future.

Any thoughts?


  • lincroft1710
    lincroft1710 Posts: 17,695 Forumite
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    If you are unhappy with the scenario, don't buy a house with him.
    If you are querying your Council Tax band would you please state whether you are in England, Scotland or Wales
  • fibonarchie
    fibonarchie Posts: 975 Forumite
    As above, it's good that you've found this out at this stage and not later down the line. It's not even his son if I understand it correctly, it's his step-son?

    Not getting married means you won't get the same legal rights of inheritance that a married partner would.
    Signature Removed by Forum Team ..thanks to somebody reporting a witty and decades-old Kenny Everett quote as 'offensive'!!
  • brooklyn07
    brooklyn07 Posts: 170 Forumite
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    Sorry no its his son and my step son (yes i know we arent married so technically i cant call him my step son but just for simplicity of the title!)

    No i'm not happy with the scenario at all, I do want to buy a house with him but not unless something gets sorted that is fair but I don't know enough about wills and inheritance and loopholes and things to be able to know that I will be provided for (or at least not kicked out of my home!) should the worst happen.
  • comeandgo
    comeandgo Posts: 5,751 Forumite
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    Don't put any of your money into the house, let him buy it himself and you pay rent and invest your money elsewhere.
  • PasturesNew
    PasturesNew Posts: 70,698 Forumite
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    If he didn't exist, what'd you be doing with your current house if you died this afternoon?

    How long have you been together?
    How old is the step-son?
  • maisie_cat
    maisie_cat Posts: 2,074 Forumite
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    If you are buying a house as joint tenants then the share of the first to die transfers to the other and does not form part of their estate so it can't be left to the son. If you buying as tenants in common it is possible to give the surviving party the right to remain in the house until they remarry/die/sell and then the share passes to the son. That would give you the security that you won't be evicted from your own house.
    I can see that he might be concerned that if he dies first you will not leave his son anything. It is quite common nowadays for the children of property owning parents to get no inheritance because it ends up elsewhere
  • arielsmelody
    I think you are right to be wary. I think the stepson is still a child at the moment? You have no idea what will happen in the future, and to have all your money potentially tied up in a property part-owned by someone else could all end in tears.

    If you are buying a property together, then this is a logical time to think about wills and the future - now is the time to go to a solicitor and get proper advice.
  • brooklyn07
    brooklyn07 Posts: 170 Forumite
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    I have no will setup so if i died today by house would go to my parents. However, if i died after we bought a house together I would ensure my partner would get everything as as far as I'm concerned once we made that step to buy our house together we are "committed" BUT that was before i realised how strongly he felt about me getting nothing - i assumed he would pass his share over to me as we had a very brief discussion about it last year to which he agreed I would get the house upon his death but obviously he has now had more time to think about it and his mind has been changed.

    We've been together for 4 years, his son is 12.

    So if we bought it as joint tenants then it would pass to me regardless of what the will says? Not that im planning to hoodwink him but if he does agree to joint tenancy then i need to make it clear to him that his son would not be entitled to the 50% even if he does make a will, so if he still wants 50% to go to his son then we obviously need to go as tenants in common.
  • Soundgirlrocks
    A deed of trust, can be included in your partners will and worded in a way that lets you downsize if needed but keeps share for his son.

    I can understand wanting to leave something to his son (I have a friend who never received a penny from her parents estate as her father remarried and promptly died without a will so everything went to the step mum) but he should understand your valid concerns about being potentially booted out of your home whilst grieving should he die first. I think not wanting you to have anything is a bit misery if I were you I would make sure you leave all your assets to a charity you like.....
  • Red-Squirrel_2
    Red-Squirrel_2 Posts: 4,341 Forumite
    He would be ok with you being left in an insecure and stressful situation if he died. He doesn!!!8217;t see a problem with leaving you in that position.

    That!!!8217;s not ok. It shows how much (little) he actually cares for and considers you, doesn!!!8217;t it?

    You might be committed, but he isn!!!8217;t. He could find ways to leave something to his son without leaving you at risk of homelessness after he!!!8217;s gone, but the important question is, does he even mind that you will be taking that risk?
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