Not All Stepparents Are Wicked

With more and more blended families in the U.S., stepparents and stepchildren are a fact of life.  Anyone thinking of marrying someone with children from another marriage, or anyone with children who is getting remarried, should revisit their estate plans.

Depending on state law, stepchildren may not be included under intestate succession, so the only way they can inherit would be through a will, living trust or beneficiary designation.  If a stepparent wants to include stepchildren, it’s important to see an attorney about drafting or revising an estate plan.

Even existing estate plans may not include stepchildren under the umbrella language of “my children.”  One way to assure that stepchildren inherit is to name them individually in the will.  On the other hand, if clients don’t want to include stepchildren, it’s better to name them and indicate that they are being disinherited.  Otherwise, the lack of reference to a stepchild may be interpreted as a mistake.


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