Grandparent with grandchild.

The pandemic has exposed a generational divide in living conditions across Britain, with young people locked down with half the space of older age groups, according to research published by Resolution Foundation last month.

But in contrast to the “generational conflict” narrative that we often hear, many families are actively tackling their own inter-generational gap in fortunes by supporting younger members to continue their education and buy their first homes. Even much older adult children are being assisted with supplements to their incomes, businesses and properties by parents, who also often support grandchildren’s education too.

Later in life, it is not uncommon nowadays for parents and grandparents to fund a divorce for younger generations too, paying legal fees or even buying them out of houses and business interests when the couple seek a “clean break”.

I have also had a recent increase in requests to protect these “investments” by preparing cohabitation agreements and pre and post-nuptial agreements. These ensure that if a family member is provided for and then later divorces, the family assets are not treated in the same way as other assets divided in the divorce.

Where the division of assets involves a family farming business or a landed estate, additional complications can arise from the various generational interests involved, which have to be treated sensitively.

The Silk Family Law team has significant experience in these complex cases. I recently advised in a case with both farming and commercial interests where two generations’ interests had to be considered. Both generations were involved in the family business and there was an existing inheritance tax plan, which needed adapting to meet the separated parties’ needs. We brought in specialist valuation and tax advisors who are part of our trusted network, and were able to resolve this case through a private dispute resolution hearing without the need for going to court.

As a team committed to working constructively and collaboratively with other advisors to ensure that immediate tax liabilities and long term inheritance tax planning are also taken into account, we can provide the reassurance families need that all aspects of their family situation will be provided for.

Author Teresa Davidson is a partner at Silk Family Law. As a Resolution accredited lawyer, she is committed to non-confrontational approaches to resolving family legal issues. Teresa holds the organisation’s specialist accreditation in Advanced Financial Provision and Private Children Law. For advice on any aspect of divorce, contact Teresa on 07712 937747 or Teresa.davidson@silkfamilylaw.co.uk.

Photo credits: Johnny Cohen and Ian Cylkowski on Unsplash.

This article first appeared in The Yorkshire Post ‘Country Week’ supplement on Saturday 15 August 2020.