Estate Planning And Family Law Attorneys

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How Should My Estate Plan Treat Stepchildren In The Event of Divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2022 | Estate Planning

It can be complicated to do your estate planning when you have a blended family. This gets even more complicated when you have also just gone through a divorce and you have to consider both biological children and stepchildren.

Generally speaking, when you get divorced, your former spouse will not automatically inherit your assets the way they would have if you were married. The mere fact that you got divorced shows the court that you didn’t want to leave anything to your ex. But the law doesn’t say anything about what happens to your stepchildren, so what do you need to do?

Make sure that you update your plan

First and foremost, don’t neglect to update your plan. There have been cases where people have gotten divorced and then passed away, but they have left former stepchildren in their estate plan. These children brought claims to confirm and enforce their interests, despite the fact that the couple themselves got divorced.

If you do decide to include your stepchildren, you may also specify in your estate plan whether or not you would like to treat them equally. There is no obligation to treat every beneficiary the same.  A lot of your decision-making process may involve looking at your relationship with your stepchildren, including the length of time you have been in each other’s lives and what type of feelings you have developed.

But the key is simply to make sure that you make your wishes known so that it doesn’t start a complicated estate dispute after you pass away. Be sure you know exactly what steps to take.

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