step child with parent

If you divorce and remarry, your new spouse may have children they bring into the marriage from a previous relationship. In many cases, step-parents come to love and cherish their step-children as if they were their own biological children. You might include them in family vacations or incorporate them into the family you create with your new spouse.

No matter how much you may love your step-children, though, they do not automatically get a share of your estate when you pass, especially if you die without a will in place. If you intend to fully incorporate your step-children into your life by making them a beneficiary of your estate, you will need to take some affirmative actions.

Making Step-Kids Eligible to Receive Assets upon Your Death

There are several options for you to incorporate your spouse’s children from a previous marriage into your estate plan, if you choose to do so. If you do not want your step-children to be eligible for a share of your estate, then you do not have to do anything.

Otherwise, you can make your step-children beneficiaries and heirs of your estate by:

Amending Your Will or Trust

If you have a will or trust in place, you can modify the terms of either document to specify that your step-children are to receive a specific share of your estate or assets. Because the law permits you a great deal of latitude in setting the terms of a will or trust, you can make this share as large or as small as you would like.

If you do not yet have a will or trust, you can also create either document from scratch and have your step-children included as heirs and beneficiaries. Again, you have discretion to provide your step-children with as much or as small of a share of your estate and assets as you would like. 

Legally Adopting Your Step-Children

If you do not wish to create or amend your estate plan to include your step-children, the other way to ensure they receive a portion of your estate is to legally adopt them. Adoption can be an onerous process, especially if the children’s other parent objects to the adoption. By adopting your step-children, however, they become your legal heirs at-law. This means they would share in your estate the same way as your natural-born children would if you die without a will in place.

Centonzio Law Makes Estate Planning Accessible for All Floridians

The easier and quicker of the options is to create or amend an estate plan to include your step-children as heirs and beneficiaries. Doing so may sound more difficult than it actually is. A Florida estate planning lawyer with Centonzio Law can make quick work of this task, allowing you to scratch it off of your to-do list.

Learn how easy it can be to set up an estate plan that reflects your wishes and desires by setting up a consultation with Centonzio Law. You can call us at (727) 900-7290 or you can reach us online.