‘Quickie’ divorces present new fear for grandparents when writing wills

New research, released by Slater and Gordon, suggests two-thirds of the UK’s over-60s are feeling concerned about the effect a breakdown in their children’s marriages could have on their left-over assets.

The modern, simple online divorce process often fails to provide adequate protection for dividing assets, putting the future of money gifted in wills at greater risk. But even without this easy process the Office for National Statistics reports 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce.

Precious Igbokwe

Precious Igbokwe

Precious Igbokwe, from Slater and Gordon, said: “The unexpected break down in relationships, especially when children and grandchildren are involved, is another element that should be considered when writing your will and more importantly, keeping it up to date.

“Many people have an idea of how they would like the money to be spent, especially as we are discussing vast sums of money that many have worked their whole lives to achieve. Some choose to skip a generation and leave it all to the grandchildren or add stipulations on how it is spent. This could include asking for a percentage to be spent on the grandchildren’s education.

“But sadly many people also do not consider this, which can lead to their wishes not being followed and family feuds taking place.”

Even without the threat of divorce, 15% said they still didn’t trust their child’s partner with money, with two in five of these people considering cutting the couple out of their will because of it.

One in seven over-60s admitted they are worried about how the money they leave will be spent, of which nearly half said their biggest concern was how their kids would choose to spend it.

When asked what they wanted their children to do with the money, 38% wanted the money saved, 33% wanted their children to settle their debts, while 27% wanted their kids to indulge in the money and have fun.

Despite these concerns, two thirds (66%) also admitted they had not even considered adding any kind of guidance within their will to specify how money and assets would be spent.

Precious Igbokwe said: “Talking about wills and death is never nice, but it’s important. If people know their wishes will be respected once they are gone it can take at least one worry off their plate.

“We are talking about people’s life savings and often equity in property that can amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds. This can be life changing sums of money for people. If the parents aren’t satisfied their children will take the right steps to keep it secure they are advised to seek advice.

“However, this research shows us despite many people having concerns, two thirds have not even considered measures they could take to protect their assets.”