What is Sideways Disinheritance?
This is whereby your family and loved ones are disinherited — completely unintentionally.
A lot of couples have a basic ‘Mirror Will’ which leaves everything to each other and then to children (or other named beneficiaries). Whist this Will is acceptable it does come with a number of risks and could in fact lead to your loved ones inheriting less than you would have wished and sometimes – not inheriting at all.
It is worth noting here that The Office for National Statistics records that in 2012, 33% of all marriages were a second marriage for at least one of the couple. Also note that most people are unaware that marriage automatically invalidates any Will you have in place (unless you have had it drafted to prevent this and a special clause is added).
Imagine the situation where you have a Will drafted whereby you leave everything to your husband or wife and then to your children (‘Mirror Will’). Upon your death your spouse inherits the whole estate as per your wishes. A number of years later your spouse re-marries. Remember above – Marriage automatically invalidates a Will.
It is therefore entirely possible that your children (the ultimate beneficiaries) would not inherit your estate. If your partner passes away after their remarriage and did not draft a new Will, their new partner would inherit the estate and may not leave anything to your children.
This is how children and grandchildren can be disinherited completely unintentionally. Unfortunately this situation is very common. With the correct advice, it is possible to plan and protect against Sideways Disinheritance and ring-fence an inheritance for your chosen beneficiaries.