Two in three parents fear hard-earned inheritance could be leveraged in children’s divorce settlement

Almost two in three parents are hesitant about handing over their hard-earned wealth to married children with fears that it may be handed over to spouses on divorce, a study has revealed.

The research, published by Handelsbanken Wealth Management, comes as divorce rates rocket as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the report, 67 per cent of parents are “holding back on financial planning” because they fear that their inheritance risked being handed over to children’s former partners “as part of a divorce settlement”.

It comes after almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of parents envisage that financial issues related to Covid-19 would lead to a “surge in divorce rates” – a prediction already confirmed by a national law chain, who revealed that divorce enquiries increased by 42 per cent in the months after the lockdown began.

Likewise, over a quarter (27 per cent) of parents had “little or no confidence” that their children’s marriages would last a lifetime, while one in six (16 per cent) felt their children’s spouses were “not good with money”.

Remarkably, one in five (19 per cent) parents had so little confidence in their children’s marriage that they have decided to give their inheritance straight to grandchildren.

Commenting on the study, author Christine Ross said: “The emotional and financial pressures of an enforced lockdown have tested many marriages and sadly for some, it will be the final straw.

“It is not unusual for parents to disapprove of their children’s choice of partner, but they can be equally reluctant to interfere in case they cause a family rift.”

Are you hesitant to hand over your inheritance to children? For advice, including support on how to craft a watertight Will, make cash gifts and create trusts to keep wealth in your family, please get in touch with our expert later life planning team today.

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Natalie Payne
Natalie is a Private Client Solicitor at Mackrell.Solicitors and is based in their London office. Natalie has a very hands on approach with her clients and guides them through every step when looking after their personal affairs and/or those of their friends and family.