Share

Miami FL Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Monday, May 29, 2017

How to Leave Gifts to Step-Children

Today, blended families have become increasingly common, and many individuals have step-children, that is, children of a spouse or partner. In situations where step-children have not been legally adopted, however, they do not have a legal right to an inheritance from a step-parent. For those who wish to leave step-children part of their estate , it is necessary to include them in an estate plan.

The easiest way to leave gifts to step-children is to name them in a will. As with any other gift, they can be given a percentage of the estate, or specific gifts. If there are other children involved, it is important to avoid confusion by naming each child and step-child by using their individual names, rather than terms such as "descendants," "heirs," or "children."

There are also a number of estate planning tools that can be utilized to include step-children in an inheritance. If the objective is to avoid probate, for example, a revocable living trust can be established in which a step-child is named as a beneficiary. Moreover, it may be necessary to provide for a disabled step-child who is eligible for public benefits by establishing a special needs trust. Lastly, a step-child can also be named as a beneficiary in a life insurance policy or a pay-on-death financial account.

While there is no legal obligation to leave step-children an inheritance, it may be the best choice for those who have a close relationship, or played a significant role, in raising them. However, this will reduce the amount of assets available to other children and beneficiaries. Because blended family relationships are complex and subject to emotional challenges, it is important to explain these decisions with all family members.

By engaging in an open and honest dialogue, you can minimize the potential for strife and the possibility of a will contest. In particular, it is important to clarify why you gave each recipient a gift, the selection of your executor, and your thoughts about the family.  Lastly, you are well advised to engage the services of an estate planning attorney who can help ensure your wishes regarding step-children are carried out.


Blog Categories

Estate Planning

Archived Posts

2017
2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2015


Steven Silverman, P.A., serves clients in Florida cities such as Miami, Kendall, Doral, Miami Beach, Aventura, Homestead, Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, Miami Gardens, North Miami, Miami Springs, Hialeah, Miami Gardens, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay and others throughout Miami Dade County, Broward County and Palm Beach County and South Miami.



© 2017 Miami Center for Estate Planning, Elder Law & Probate Steven Silverman, P.A. | Disclaimer
9655 South Dixie Highway, Suite 310, Miami, FL 33156
| Phone: 305-666-6111

En Español | About Us | Practice Areas | Client Forms | FAQS

Law Firm Website Design by
Amicus Creative