Planning for Stepchildren and Step-Grandchildren

If you or your grown children are part of a blended family, your estate planning should reflect the special considerations and complexities involved.

Identify Your Goals Each family has its own dynamics and priorities—and blended families add another dimension that must be considered as you create or update your estate plan. The decision about whether to provide for your stepchildren or step-grandchildren in your will or trust is an important and often emotionally difficult decision. The following factors are among those in play:

Age. The ages of both you and your spouse and the ages of your stepchildren often have an impact on estate planning decisions. If you and your spouse are older and both financially independent, and all of your children are adults, it may make sense for each of you to leave your assets to your own natural heirs. However, if you and your spouse are young adults, and your spouse’s children are quite young, it is more likely your assets will be intertwined. In this case, you may decide to provide for your stepchildren in your estate plan. Grandparents are likely to weigh similar considerations in determining whether to include their step-grandchildren in their estate plan.

Relationship. Some people simply do not get along with their stepchildren or their step-grandchildren or do not have a close relationship for a host of other reasons. If this is the case, they may feel less inclined to provide for the stepchildren in their estate plan. In contrast, other individuals come to view their stepchildren with as much love and affection as they do their own children and may want to reflect this relationship in their estate plan.

Importance of bloodline. For some people, it is very important that only those children or grandchildren related to them by blood receive the bulk of their money and property. This may be the case even in situations where younger stepchildren are involved and their relationship with those children is strong.

Heirlooms or other personal property. If one of your ancestors brought a special piece of furniture or jewelry that has been passed down through the generations, you may want to ensure that it goes to your blood children or grandchildren or to another relative when you pass away. This may also be the case if you have items that belonged to a deceased spouse that are of sentimental value to your children or other family members.

We Can Help Design a Successful Estate Plan for Your Blended Family. If your family is one of millions of blended families in our country today, we can help you create or amend your estate plan to ensure that your wishes for your stepchildren or step-grandchildren, as well as other family members, are carried out after you pass away. Please call us today at (614) 429- 1053 to set up an appointment so we can discuss your unique circumstances and goals and the best tools for accomplishing your wishes for your blended family.