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How to Fit Your Stepkids Into Your Estate Plan

February 5, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:34 pm

One of the most complicated facets of estate planning emerges when you’ve been married more than once or have children from a previous relationship. Naturally, whether or not you want to leave something behind for all your children and stepchildren is a personal decision and you can decide what’s best for you.

But if you do determine that you’d like to leave something for your stepchildren, it’s wise to discuss that situation with your estate planning attorney. Unfortunately, what tends to happen with most people who don’t consult an expert in which one set of children ends up taking everything and it all depends on how the estate plan was structured before the person passed away.

Make sure that you share with your attorney that some of those who are to receive your property when you pass away are stepchildren rather than blood relatives. Be as specific as possible in your plans about what you intend for them to have- these details make it easier to have your estate carried out as you wish in the future.

Don’t list that you want a piece of property or an amount of money to be split among “your children.” List out their names directly so that it’s very clear you did intend to include- or exclude- certain people in your will

It can also be helpful to establish a trust for estate planning purposes if you have complex concerns like how to pass on assets to stepchildren. 

If you want everyone to share things, you need to delve into the details and make sure that your lawyer has reviewed your proposed will or drafted it directly. Don’t let your loved ones end up embroiled in an estate planning dispute in the courts that could decimate your assets or leave someone out in the cold if that’s not what you intended.

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