Unmarried Couple wanting to make provision for each other

Unmarried couple both with children from previous marriage.

He owns a property where they both live value £200k, he also owns a seaside flat worth £150k. Some savings £50k in his name. He has parents that could leave him a good inheritance at some stage in the future. He has two children.

She owns a property £150k which she rents out and has some money in the bank. She has three children one of whom is disabled child and requires care.

They both own a mobile home (which is mostly mortgaged) as tenants in common which they rent out. They want to leave this to each other then divide equally between all the children (All five)

If he dies first he wants her to be able live in the property they are currently in for the rest of her life. He wants her to be able to rent out the seaside flat and have the income from it but not own it. The house and the flat going to his two children equally on her death.

If she dies first she wants him to have a life interest in her property to give him an income and the remainder of the estate for her three girls but protecting the disabled girl if possible. On his death the property would be divided between the girls but making provision in a discretionary trust for the disabled child.

The best thing they can do is get married and it would be easy to treat the mobile home separately and use two flits which would meet their wishes and can provide for the children as they wish.
Although they have lived together for the last eight years he does not want to get married.

Using life interest trusts for unmarried couples would have a double hit leave a tax liability for the surviving partner. Possibly a nil rate band discretionary trust in the will would be the most tax effective route and nearly meet their needs.

Can anyone suggest a better option?

David Nixon
Staffordshire Wil

In relation to recent postings about tax planning for unmarried clients and the view that things could be simplified if they got married, as someone who did matrimonial work previously I would say do not allow the tax tail to wag the tax dog. If the marriage did not work one party, and possibly his/her children, would think paying IHT would have been much more preferable to financial settlement in divorce proceedings.

This is not to say one must never suggest marriage as an option to save tax, and indeed I have done this too, but I would hesitate where both parties have children and they wish their respective children to inherit their own assets.

Viju Chhagan
Palmers