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Estate planning with stepchildren: what to know

Estate planning is often a very helpful tool when it comes to making sure that any assets you have are distributed the right way after your death. However, a remarriage and stepchildren can complicate things and make estate planning more difficult. If you find yourself in that situation, though, it becomes more important than ever to make sure you have a solid plan for your estate so that all of your assets go where you want them to. That may or may not include the stepchildren, but if you die without an estate plan there are no guarantees that your assets will end up where you would have wanted them to go.

A Divorce Severs Legal Ties

When someone divorces, the legal ties that bound them together are severed. If they remarry, any children from the first marriage may not get anything at all. If that's not what you intend for your estate, naming who really is family to you and where you want your assets to go becomes very important. An estate plan can help you do that more easily, so you do not have to worry about your children being left out if you pass away. Without a will and an estate plan, everything may go to your current spouse, leaving your children from a prior marriage with nothing.

What About The Stepchildren?

If you want to leave stepchildren out of your will, you can legally do that. They don't automatically inherit your things, as those would go to your biological children if your current spouse is no longer living. However, you will want to make your wishes clear, and that usually means specifically including or excluding people if you want to be sure things are handled properly later on. Being clear on your wishes and intentions is the main thing when it comes to ensuring that everyone is provided for the way you would want them to be. If that does include your stepchildren, make sure that's spelled out clearly in your estate plan.

The Right Legal Guidance Is Important

For more information, talk to an estate planning attorney. They can help you decide how to set everything up, so that your assets are protected and end up in the right hands. That can give you peace of mind, knowing your assets will be handled correctly when you pass away, and that peace of mind is important. You don't have to do things yourself or wonder if you have made a mistake that could cost someone you love an inheritance. By checking with an attorney who handles estate planning, you will know everything is set up the right way and your estate will be protected and distributed accurately.

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