Why have I not received any monies from my divorced parent's estate?

This is becoming an increasingly common question, and a version of it is often asked by children who believe that their parent's wishes have not been carried out.

I quite often see this when parties are separating. The intentions of both parents are admirable. One party will walk away leaving the majority of the capital (normally in the form of the former matrimonial home) to the other, in order to provide secure accommodation for their children. Their words, when you advise them against this, are normally "I know that my ex partner will leave everything to the children and so I have no concerns".  They are therefore giving up control of who benefits from their wealth.

However, imagine this scenario. A husband has given all capital assets to his wife for the security of their children. Several years later she remarries. However, if she dies without making a suitable will, the home and other assets may pass to her new husband. As the new husband has no legal relationship with the children, the first husband's original capital pass to the second husband's children on his death. The first husband's children could end up with nothing.

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