Vardags — Leading solicitors for high net worth individuals

“Silver splitters ” are causing family inheritance disputes

Divorces in the over 60s – the so called “silver splitters” – are said to be the cause of a significant number of disputes amongst families when it comes to who inherits their parents’ assets.

The Office for National Statistics’ latest figures show that the fastest growing group of divorces is those aged 60 and over, with an increase of 75% over the last 20 years.

Family fall outs often follow a divorce, especially those involving adult children, with many feeling the need to take one parent’s side. However, one argument that appears to be on the increase in that surrounding changes to their children’s inheritance prospects.

Anyone who goes through a divorce should be advised to make or amend their will once the divorce is finalised. In doing so, most will leave their assets to their children. However, older divorcees frequently go on to re-marry. In 2013 the remarriage rate was 25.3 per 1,000 in men and 12.2 per 1,000 in women. And when they do remarry many fail to update their will.

Failing to update your will when you remarry results in your will being considered out of date and the legal principle of intestacy comes in to effect. Intestacy states that the remaining spouse inherits all assets up to £250,000 and all their spouses’ personal possession, whatever their value. The remainder of the estate is shared 50/50 between them and any surviving children.

People in their 60s or older are likely to have built up a significant estate on death, often with a mortgage free property. It is clear therefore that the impact on children of divorced parents – who go on to re-marry – is severe.

If you are 60 or over and considering a divorce or need advice on a will post-divorce, contact our legal team on for specialist advice.

If you would like to know more about the issues covered in this article, Vardags offers a free consultation to qualifying individuals.

For high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals or their companies, our confidential enquiry line is staffed 24 hours. Call 020 7404 9390 today.