Planning ahead to avoid problems later

Ian Walker SolicitorPlanning ahead to avoid problems later

As we have said, getting together can be more complicated than you might think.

Getting the right advice is never a bad idea.

Below is a case study which shows how things can go wrong.

Life is complicated. Relationships are complicated. Planning ahead involves thinking about potential problems, and thinking about how to avoid them or dealing with problems before they get too big.


Belinda is 55, her husband Bill died 10 years ago. Belinda received a large insurance payment. She inherited money when her own parents died. She lives in a nice house and is financially secure. She has 3 children. Simon and Sarah are both married and independent and have given Belinda 4 lovely grandchildren. They live some distance away. Belinda’s youngest child Stephen is 22. He is disabled and lives with Belinda. He would not be capable of independent living. Belinda would not want him to be in a home.

Belinda meets Frank. She originally employed him as a gardener. He is lovely and a relationship develops between them over time. Frank is supportive and loving and sincere, but Simon and Sarah do not like him and disapprove of the relationship.

Frank is himself divorced. He has 2 children in their 20’s who he does not see. He rents a flat and has no savings or pension.

Belinda and Frank decide to marry. Simon and Sarah are horrified and threaten to boycott the wedding and say if Brenda goes ahead they will not let her see her grandchildren!

What can we do to help?

There a number of different areas;

• Mediation between Belinda and Simon and Sarah

• Advising Belinda about a prenuptial agreement with Frank and about keeping in contact with her grandchildren

• Assisting Belinda find the right professionals to prepare a will and to make provision for Stephen and [at least] her grandchildren. We can assist with signposting whether we are employed as mediators or Solicitors.

But what could happen next?

But what would happen if the wedding went ahead; Belinda did not make a Will; 2 years later she was killed in a road accident; Frank inherits Belinda’s money and puts Stephen into a home; He sells up and decides to move to Thailand to start a new life [with Belinda’s money]!


After 10 years Frank and Belinda separate and Frank seeks a divorce and makes a claim for half of Belinda’s money


The wedding went ahead and Sarah and Simon were true to their word and banned Belinda from seeing her Grandchildren

Unfortunately, there tend to be more potential problems when couples marry later in life.

In our experience, they are likely to be smaller problems if they are thought about and reasonable precautions are taken. Also it is better if problems are addressed in a nice way and early on.


You may have questions such as: How to prepare for mediation? What are the different types of mediation styles? What is the mediation vs arbitration definition? We isbinding vs non binding arbitration? We have created an FAQ’s page that can help answer those questions.