Modify Definitions in Your Will and Trust to Include Stepchildren

For many families, stepchildren and biological children are viewed and treated equally by both parents. In these cases, it is crucial to update older, outdated estate plans in order to make specific reference to stepchildren and ensure they receive the inheritance that you intended. Knowing where to make changes in your plan is crucial to the overall success of the plan that you put in place.

4 Tips Relating to Estate Plan Updates and Providing for Stepchildren

In most cases, you need to update your will and trust to include stepchildren as beneficiaries. The following are four helpful tips to consider:

  1. In the early paragraphs of your will, you likely make reference to your children. If your current estate plan does not expand on the definition of “children” to include your stepchildren, consider creating a new will that does.
  2. In the early paragraphs of your trust, you may also make reference to your children. This section of your trust should be amended to specifically include your stepchildren as well as your biological children. Your attorney may suggest that you name each stepchild individually.
  3. Carefully review the language used relating to distributions of tangible personal property, real property, and the remainder of your estate. If the language makes reference your grandchildren, either specifically or through a legal term such as “per stirpes” or “by right of representation,” consider updating your plan to incorporate step-grandchildren as well.
  4. If you re-define the group of people who are stated as beneficiaries of your estate, you reduce the likelihood that you will miss a later reference to these individuals in the document and inadvertently omit your stepchildren.

Are you ready to update your estate plan to incorporate your stepchildren? We are here to help. We encourage you to contact us today at (714) 459-5481.

 

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