Divorce lawyers are seeing first hand the impact of the widely expected hike in post lockdown divorce rate in England and Wales and the reality that 4 in 10 marriages are expected to fail has encouraged more parents to take steps to protect assets which they would hitherto passed down to the next generation and their spouses without further thought.
Many parents and grandparents have delayed or changed their estate and inheritance plans out of fears that children’s/grandchildren’s marriages will end in divorce, with the consequent risk of wealth and assets passing out of the family to third parties.
A significant proportion of parents do not realistically expect their children’s marriages to last and have concerns that their hard earned wealth, if passed to their children, will end up in the hands of their son or daughter in law. In fact the statistics show that over 25% of parents have a child or children who is separated or divorced.
Fiona Apthorpe, Head of Family Law at national law firm Geldards says:
“The emotional and financial impact of lockdown has highlighted the problems in many relationships and sadly has impacted adversely on the already high divorce rate. We are also seeing a steady increase in enquiries from the older generation keen to preserve their family’s hard earned wealth within the immediate blood family. We are seeing a real hike in pre nups, post nups, cohabitation agreements and request for advice on discretionary trusts. It is really important particularly in these challenging times that clients take early and expert advice on what can be done both to help their children through the traumas of a divorce but also how best to protect their own wealth against claims by third parties.
I once had a client whose father gifted her £1.3m. Six months later her husband left her and took her to court for half of it. Happily we saw off the claim but it cost a lot in legal fees and stress to do so. Plus, had we not been successful the father would have wanted to know why his IFA/accountant had not warned of a risk that a Post Nup could easily have resolved. Moral of the tale; get expert legal advice and do so early on."
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