Suppose that, in Example 1, Alexandra and Simon had made Wills in similar terns which included a life interest trust. Whichever spouse lives the longest will be given a life interest and the ultimate beneficiary of this trust will be their daughter, Petra. The valuable family home is to be placed into the trust, which Alexandra and Simon own in equal shares as tenants in common.
When Alexandra dies, her Will sets up the life interest trust and her 50% share of the house is placed into it. Simon is given a life interest over Alexandra’s share and still holds his own share. His life interest allows him to live in the property during his lifetime.
Simon then meets Tiffany and he falls out with Petra. If Simon still decides to change his Will and leave everything to Tiffany, he can only dispose of his own 50% share in the house. Petra is entitled to receive Alexandra’s share under the life interest trust and, as the life tenant of that trust there is nothing he can do to change this. Petra’s inheritance from her mother is protected by the trust.
By the same token, Simon’s right to live in the house for his lifetime is protected by the trust for his lifetime and Petra will not actually receive her share of the house until Simon’s death.