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Published On: November 22, 2019 | Blog | 0 comments

The Office for National Statistics release on UK families and households

The Office for National Statistics has released figures on trends on family and household make-up in the UK. The figures look at the increase in multi-family households, same-sex parented families and unmarried co-habitants.

The changing nature of households and families means that estate planning professionals need to give tailored consideration to their clients’ estate planning needs. It is also even more important that people in these family situations seek expert advice to protect themselves and their loved ones. You can read more detail on the trends release here.

In a recent article in Today’s Wills and Probate, Ryan Taylor provides comment on these trends:

“The changing nature of modern families presents new dilemmas for estate planning professionals and the courts in determining disputes that arise. The rise in numbers of cohabiting couples means that more attention needs to be paid to estate planning documents. Utilising wills to fill the gaps in coverage under the intestacy rules and advising on the inheritance tax implications of remaining unmarried are imperative to couples in this situation. This is particularly so where there is no recognition of de facto relationships here, as has developed in other common law jurisdictions.

“Blended families are an increasingly common feature of litigated estates and properties. Making will and trust mechanisms that can recognise a couple’s respective families and children are important but require careful consideration. Sound advice and planning, particularly when jointly owned property is involved, can help take care of both families when the time comes – while providing for a surviving spouse or partner.

“As we see in the law reports regularly though, the make-up of families has changed more rapidly than the law. The testator’s themselves have not in all cases kept their documentation and legal advice updated to suit their circumstances. At this point the courts are often called upon to try and resolve these planning shortfalls, usually at great expense and risk to the families and surviving partner.”

The full article was published on 22 November 2019 and can be found here.

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