Sideways Disinheritance

by Jan 12, 2022News

Sideways disinheritance is a term that you may not have heard of, but we are regularly asked by our clients what it means.  So, in this article we will cover what it is and how you can plan to avoid it.

Have you ever heard a friend say, “I didn’t get anything when mum/dad died because it all when to their new spouse”?  This is sideways disinheritance.

This can happen accidentally or by simply trusting that the new spouse would not change their Will to disinherit your children.

The majority of people would never intentionally choose to cut their children out of their Will, but the sad reality is that sideways disinheritance can mean that this is the end result.

So how does sideways disinheritance occur?

Sideways disinheritance can occur when a survivor remarries and leaves everything to their new spouse, intentionally or accidentally.  That new spouse can then write their own Will leaving everything to their own children.  This is often an innocent mistake made by the survivor who may not realise that their Will is revoked upon their new marriage or who simply trusts that their new spouse will take care of ALL of the children.  

As I’m sure you can imagine, this becomes even more complicated when people have re-married a number of times and for those who have children from previous relationships.

For example:

Bob and Jenny are married with two children when Jenny sadly passes away. Jenny’s Estate passes through her Will and everything is left to Bob.  Bob then remarries a lady called Sandra, who has two of her own children.  Bob dies and he hadn’t realised that his Will was automatically invalid from the date of his new marriage to Sandra.  Bob’s Estate passes via the rules of Intestacy and Sandra inherits everything.  Bob and Jenny’s children have fallen victim to sideways disinheritance, meaning that they inherit none of either of their parent’s Estates.

How to prevent sideways disinheritance?

The good news is that there are measures that can be taken in order to protect your Estate against this risk.  The best way to do this is to seek professional advice and have the correct provisions within your Will.  

Using your Will to leave your assets into a Trust can be a great way to protect your children and also help to provide for your new partner.  Making use of this type of Trust in your Will is not complicated nor expensive.  It is being used by many couples to ensure that their children’s inheritance is protected.

Our service

We take the time to get to know you, your family dynamics, and your personal circumstances.  This allows us to offer completely bespoke advice and ensure that you have peace of mind, knowing that your Estate is protected for your loved ones.

If you would like to talk with us about getting a Will made or to review your existing Will to ensure sideways disinheritance is not a risk, please feel free to get in touch; we are always happy to have an informal chat.

You can contact us on 01953 711950 or