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How Does a Second Marriage Affect Inheritance in the UK?

How Does a Second Marriage Affect Inheritance in the UK?

If you had been previously married and plan to remarry in the UK, you must understand how this will affect the inheritance you get from a previous marriage and that of your children (if any). If you want to learn more about the legal aspects of this issue, this article is for you. 

Before getting down to the details of the matter, it is important to note that the laws regarding inheritance in the UK are not gender-biased. The laws apply to all people, as they are meant to protect the rights of the deceased and their beneficiaries.

Inheritance of Spouse in the UK

If you are married, one of the most important things you have in your will is the treatment of your spouse in the document. You need to make sure that your spouse is well taken care of and that this will happen for sure. When you get married in the UK, your spouse automatically becomes your next of kin by law. If you leave something to your spouse in your will, there is no need for a legal declaration to establish that your spouse is a next of kin. 

You simply have to indicate it in the will, which will be recognised. If you have kids from a previous marriage, you have to ensure that your will contains a clause intended to protect the legal rights of your kids. If you do not, your spouse will get all your money and assets after your death. This, in turn, will leave your kids with nothing.

The effect of your second marriage on your spouse’s inheritance can be either positive or negative, depending on many different factors. If you’ve left everything to your spouse, there will be no problem with the inheritance of your spouse. However, if you’ve left one of your kids from a previous marriage something, your spouse will have to give a part of their inheritance to the kid you’ve named. This will cause the proportion of your spouse’s inheritance to decrease.

Inheritance of Children in the UK

Don’t forget about your kids when making a will. As we’ve already mentioned above, your spouse will inherit all your assets and money if you don’t make special provisions in your will. This will make it impossible for you to ensure that your kids are properly taken care of. 

Furthermore, it will be impossible to provide for them the same way you would if you leave them something. It is essential to understand that you can divide your estate in different ways. This is because some of your assets and money may be subject to certain tax levies. Keep in mind that certain assets and funds are not subject to any tax levies, such as your personal belongings.

Inheritance of Ex-Spouse in the UK

If you are divorced, your former spouse is not considered a next of kin. Therefore, you can legally leave your ex-spouse almost nothing in your will. Nevertheless, you can protect your rights by putting in your will a clause that will allow your ex-spouse to receive something from the estate. However, this will not be a large sum of money.

If you want to ensure that your ex-spouse will be taken care of after your death, you have to make special provisions in your will. For example, you can leave them part of your estate. This will be up to you, as your new spouse will inherit all your money and assets. 

You can also leave your ex-spouse some property, which you previously bought together or which has been inherited by you. If you and your new spouse have been married for less than three years, your estate will automatically be divided between you and your spouse after you die.


Remember that you can make your own provisions regarding the inheritance of your spouse in your will. However, you can’t change the fact that your spouse will automatically inherit the majority of your assets and money. The only way to leave your previous spouse something after your death is to make your will very clear and comprehensive. To protect the rights of your previous spouse and kids, you need to include everything you want to leave to them in your will.

If you need to learn more about inheritance tax in the UK, turn to Wills and Probate. We are here to guide you through different aspects of financial planning. Get in touch with us today.