Jump to Navigation

Contact Form

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Office Location

Aventura Corporate Center
20801 Biscayne Boulevard
Suite 400
Miami, FL 33180

305-932-2293 Miami-Dade County
954-760-7077 Broward County

Subscribe to RSS Feed FindLaw Network

Are stepchildren required to receive assets in your will?

If you have remarried and taken on the responsibility for stepchildren, you might be confused about the legal requirements related to including them in your will. Florida attorneys say that stepparents have no legal obligation to leave inheritances to stepchildren, despite some common misconceptions. Still, there are some ways to improve your strategies for estate planning to ensure that everyone is satisfied.

Although you are not required to leave assets to your natural children either, the law tends to favor them during the reading of a will. That is, if your children are not included in your will at all, then the law will presume that you forgot them and reallocate some assets for their benefit. Therefore, if you truly want to disinherit a child, you need to make sure to fill out requisite paperwork to guarantee that they do not receive any portion of your estate.

Furthermore, there is nothing in the law that requires parents to treat their children equally. Although one child may be financially stable, receiving only a small number of assets, another might have special medical or personal needs that require additional funding. If you choose to plan for an unequal distribution, you may choose to explain your reasoning in the estate documents, though that is not required.

Experts stress the fact that stepchildren are not required to be included in any estate plan, even in a disinheritance clause. They are not considered automatic heirs like a natural child, so they can be safely left out of the estate plan without legal threat.

If you are struggling to craft a useful estate plan for your family, consider consulting the services of a qualified probate attorney. These professionals can help you learn more about rules and regulations in the state of Florida to help you get the most from your assets and holdings.

Source:  hometownlife.com, "Inheritance: Clearing up confusion regarding children/stepchildren" Rick Bloom, May. 05, 2013