Inheritance disputes causing older couples to divorce

By Lenore Rice

Divorce solicitors in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK are seeing an increase in divorces among older couples who cannot agree on inheritance issues, and in some cases about burial arrangements.

The inheritance disputes are common in couples who have had children from more than one relationship, and so there are mixed feelings on how exactly the family assets should be split between the children of the current marriage, and those of a previous relationship. Also, despite the decline in property prices after the recession, many older couples will have seen the value of their house rise significantly since they originally bought it, and now have a sizable asset to consider when writing their Will.

Unfortunately, it seems that the higher the value of assets available to pass on as an inheritance, the more likely a dispute can arise between couples who have children from more than one marriage or relationship. The disputes can include how much should be left to the different children, but also how much they themselves should spend in their lifetime. One spouse may want to keep the size of the inheritance for their children as big as possible, while the other may take the view that their savings and other assets should be used to fund a more luxurious lifestyle.

The disputes can escalate so much that couples have cited their difference of view on inheritance plans as a reason for divorce when taking advice from family law solicitors. There can sometimes be arguments over burial plots, with a spouse wanting to be buried next to their first spouse in order to be in a family plot with their children from that relationship.

If you require legal advice or information from a divorce solicitor in Northern Ireland, or a lawyer specialising in inheritance and estate planning, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by calling 0800 840 1363.