In the case of remarriage and blended families, stepchildren do not have an automatic right to assets or estates unless they have been legally adopted. They have no inheritance rights under the laws of intestacy. To ensure that a stepchild or stepchildren will be provided for in the event of a parent’s death, it is imperative they are named in the will as beneficiaries.
By using our will writing service online, you can easily specify exactly who will receive your possessions upon the event of your death. If there is no valid last will and testament, your estate’s division will be subject to the laws of intestacy. If these circumstances occur, this is when stepchildren can be left unprotected and disinherited.
For your stepchildren to have the same rights as your biological children, you must name them in your last will and testament. Even more so, make sure you have legally adopted them to ensure their rights further. Without a will, they have less claim to your estate than even an illegitimate child who is blood-related.
Blended Families and Estate Planning
With time and circumstances, wills can change, and they often do. Wills are not contractual, so a living spouse can easily change their will, leaving their deceased spouse’s children out of a will. To prevent this, it is important that spouses make it clear in a will what happens after the other one passes. This will require a frank conversation with your spouse and guidance from a qualified solicitor.
Types of Wills for Blended Families
Wills Trusts LPA Online can help you plan your estate and how each person’s children and assets will be treated and divided. There are different types of wills, like a joint pour-over will, that act as an umbrella, and under the umbrella is a separate trust for each spouse.
Creating a Will That Includes a Trust
Upon the first spouse’s death, the joint will moves the assets into separate trusts based on how the couple decides to distribute everything to the surviving spouse, biological children, and stepchildren. When the surviving spouse’s death occurs, the assets are allocated to the surviving spouse’s biological and stepchildren.
What is important about this type of will mentioned above is that the couple will get to decide the distribution for their own trust. Other benefits include:
– The spouse left behind will be cared for but cannot change the distribution of the assets
– The couple decides how their estate is given to their children
– The funds are protected against creditors of spouses and children
– Each spouse can pick their fiduciaries (trustee and personal representative)
Will Planning Considerations for Blended Families
When planning your will, there are a few things you should take into consideration, such as funding the trust, choosing beneficiaries, etc.
A trust is useless if it is not funded, so it must be stated which assets go into the trust and use general assignment. A general assignment states that all of the property for one that is not specifically transferred into their trust will automatically go to their trust.
Another consideration in your will planning is choosing beneficiaries. These should be chosen carefully and identified properly in blended families. Words such as my “children” or “descendants” should not be used in the will. It is best to identify individuals by name, so it is clear who the will is addressing.
Options for Distribution
Distribution options include timing and who will inherit what. This information should be very clear and very straightforward. Questions to consider include:
- Suring the surviving spouse’s life, will the child or children have access to funds?
- Who is the trustee? Are they independent or corporate?
- Will the first spouse’s children have access funds, and at what age?
This is where Wills Trust LPA Online can help you go through and understand the best choices for you and your family when planning and writing your will. Let us guide you through this process and give you peace of mind.