An accidental inheritance

An accidental inheritance

Could you accidentally be leaving an inheritance to your childrens’ ex spouse?

The recent successful application by Kathleen Wyatt to bring a financial claim against her wealthy ex-husband Dale Vince, despite being separated for over 30 years, opens up some potential risks as far as parents of divorced children are concerned.

Where a “DIY Divorce” was carried out in the past or where the parties have failed to obtain formal Court approval of their agreement over the division of their finances, there now exists the possibility that any such informal settlement could be revisited in the future.

Whether Ms Wyatt would have brought her claim against her ex-husband had he not become a multi millionaire is uncertain, but his one hundred million pound fortune must have acted as an incentive for her to revisit this matter.

While most people are unlikely to end up with a fortune of that size, it is likely that the majority of people will inherit  from their parents later in life. Following receipt of such a windfall, a former son or daughter-in-law may be tempted to revisit the financial settlement reached with their ex-spouse if that settlement has not been confirmed by a Court order. If any of your children have divorced and have not made such an application to the Court already, there is a possibility that the receipt of their inheritance may provide that temptation.  

The way to minimise the risk of any such claim being brought in the future is for your divorced child to obtain such a Court order. At the time your child is separating, you may wish to revise your Will so that, following your death, the inheritance is passed into a protective trust, in case a formal settlement had not yet been confirmed by a Court order.

The trust would hold the child’s inheritance, pending the resolution of the financial settlement, after which the funds could be paid over to the child with a reduced risk of any loss to the ex-son or daughter-in-law being incurred.

We are always happy to review our client Wills, please call our Probate team on 0113 320 5000 or email