Bloodline wills can be put in place to keep your assets in the family when you die. Not just for your children, but for your grandchildren and future generations.
Q1. But what are bloodline wills?
Q2. How do they differ from normal wills?
Q3. And when should they be used?
Like any legal document that you produce, the first step is to take professional advice when you begin your estate planning process. You could be any age, at any stage of life, and of course, everyone’s circumstances are different. So get in touch with your preferred estate planning consultant to begin the process.
We’ve produced two useful guides to help you prepare for your first meeting, and get your thoughts and questions in order.
Take a look:
Q1. What is a bloodline will?
In short, a bloodline will is a will that ensures that your assets remain in your family- or bloodline- rather than being lost to other people like ex-partners or stepchildren.
Your assets, typically property, money, and other financial assets, are placed in a trust, which is then managed by the trustees that you appoint to manage the trust in accordance with your wishes. Without a trust in place, your assets would be left to your beneficiaries, who are free to leave them in turn to whoever they choose to. And that might not be who you would want to see your assets go to. A trust moves along your bloodline in accordance with your wishes, safeguarding your assets for your future generations.
Q2. How do bloodline wills differ from normal wills?
A bloodline will utilises trusts. Your assets are placed in the trust and looked after by the trustees that you appoint. Trusts can take effect while you are alive, or upon your death. They are complex and require specialist knowledge to set up correctly. A normal will, whilst still a powerful legal document, is simpler, and is a record of who you want to leave your assets to. A mirror will is typically used for couples, where assets are left to the surviving spouse, who then leaves everything to the beneficiaries they choose. So a bloodline will is a more secure means of passing your assets down through your generations.
Q3. And when should they be used?
Bloodline wills are very much a tool to make sure that your assets remain in your family. They could be used if you have concerns about your children’s relationships, stepchildren, and ex-partners. For example, if you die and leave your estate to a child who subsequently divorces, the assets that you have left would be subject to any financial arrangement in that divorce. In a bloodline trust, however, your assets are protected from divorce proceedings and remain with your child after divorce proceedings have been finalised.
Sideways disinheritance can also be an issue where bloodline wills can help. This risk has always existed, but with more and more separated and blended families, it is a growing problem.
For more information about sideways disinheritance, take a look at our article on this issue here
Finally, you may wish to protect your assets for future generations from the partner of one of your children who may be bad at managing money, has an addiction like gambling, or mistreats your child or grandchildren.
A bloodline will, or a more conventional type of will may be most suitable for your circumstances. Whichever it may be, it is always advisable to seek professional advice from a reputable professional. Wills and particularly trusts can be challenged through the courts and overturned by a judge if they have not been set up correctly. And that could mean that your final wishes are not respected or carried out, and your future generations could lose out on the things that you wished to leave to them.
The right advice and correct structure will, in the end, give you peace of mind that even after you’re gone, you can leave something to your family that will be a valuable legacy.