Bloodline Wills – How do they work?
Bloodline Wills are not particularly well-known, but they can be a good way to make sure that your children and grandchildren benefit from the money and assets you leave behind. They are particularly beneficial if you have a complex family situation.
What is a Bloodline Will?
A Bloodline Will is a term used where trusts can be included in your will to protect all or part of your estate for future generations. The trust ensures that your estate stays in your direct family (your bloodline) and generally means the beneficiaries of your Will are your children, grandchildren and beyond. The type of trust used will depend on the type and value of your assets and your present and future concerns.
The main purpose of a Bloodline Will – also called a bloodline trust – is to protect your estate from divorce, remarriage, early death, debt or poor financial management. A further benefit can be to protect your assets from care fees by ring-fencing your property value for your beneficiaries.
Who needs a Bloodline Will/Trust?
Most people that make a simple Will decide to leave everything to their partner (if they have one) and then their children. They expect that this in turn means that their grandchildren will eventually benefit.
But, unfortunately, life can take unexpected twists and turns. Divorce, debt, disability and premature death can stop your estate passing on. Your funds and assets could end up in the hands of people outside your family – such as ex-partners, debt collectors or care providers.
If you set up a trust-based Bloodline Will, you can ensure that your hard-earned assets can only be accessed by your direct descendants.
Situations where people often consider a Bloodline Will can include:
- When you and/or your partner has a child or children from previous relationships
- When the partner of one of your children is not good at managing money, often loses their job or has an addiction
- If you consider it likely that your child’s marriage may end in divorce
- If your child’s partner has a child or children from previous relationships
- Where you are concerned about protecting the inheritance of your grandchildren
- To prevent the local authority from selling your family home to fund care fees
How does the Bloodline Will work?
When you set up a Bloodline Trust you appoint trustees to decide if, when and how to release money and assets after your death. One of the requirements is that assets held within the trust must support the beneficiaries’ health, education, maintenance and/or support.
Some people see this as a benefit, as they know exactly what will happen to their legacy, but others may feel it is too restrictive.
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What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Bloodline Wills?
Some of the main benefits include the following:
- They are important family protection to ensure that your assets stay within your bloodline.
- You gain peace of mind about the future for your children and theirs.
- Your assets are only inherited by blood relatives.
- A Bloodline Trust can prevent the sale of your assets to fund care fees should you need full-time support.
- You can change your mind in your lifetime and revoke the trust if you choose to.
- The trusts can follow ‘life interest’ – in other words, the trustees can choose when to release the assets. This is helpful if one of the beneficiaries is declared bankrupt or is getting divorced, as it prevents funds from passing to a spouse or civil partner or creditor.
- A Bloodline Trust can in some circumstances preserve the ‘Residence Nil Rate Band’ for Inheritance Tax.
One disadvantage is that the legal ownership of assets held within the trust lies with the trustees, meaning your descendants won’t have immediate, unlimited access to the funds. The trustees must provide funds for health, education, maintenance or support for the chosen beneficiaries.
Another is that setting up a Bloodline Will costs a little more than a standard Will in many cases, as it is more complex, however the long term benefits for many outweigh the initial cost.
How Does It Differ From A Simple Mirror Will?
A simple Mirror Will is a common type of Will where a couple leaves everything to each other and, after their deaths, the estate passes to the children.
These Wills are straightforward to create, but will not protect your children’s inheritance if your widow/widower needs care or falls into financial difficulty. There is also the chance that they will remarry, and your estate could end up benefiting someone else’s family instead of your own.
If you are interested in creating a Bloodline Will and protective trusts so that your children get a fair share of the family wealth, there are a few other things to consider.
We can help you explore all the options to make sure your wishes are carried out when you’re no longer around. For a free, initial consultation, contact our office today.
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