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Daytona Beach Lawyers > Blog > Estate Planning > How To Include Stepchildren In Your Estate Plan

How To Include Stepchildren In Your Estate Plan


One of the most important tools anyone can have is an estate plan. If you have stepchildren, you must pay special attention to yours to make sure they receive any inheritance you want to leave them. Stepchildren are not always legally adopted by their stepparent. When this is the case, stepchildren have no legal rights to their stepparent’s estate after their death. Due to this, you must specifically mention them in your estate plan if you wish to leave them an inheritance. Below, our Daytona Beach estate planning lawyer explains how to do this.

What are Florida’s Inheritance Laws Regarding Children? 

In most cases, if a person passes away without a will or estate plan in place, their children have many legal rights to their property. However, the people you consider to be your children may not be the same as who the law legally recognizes as your children. Blended families today are becoming much more common and so many people have stepchildren. Unfortunately, the law has not yet caught up with this trend.

Biological children usually have an automatic right to their parent’s estate. There is an exception to this if the parent has terminated their parental rights and another person has legally adopted the child. When a child is legally adopted by another person, they have all the same rights to their parent’s estate as a biological child. However, the adopted child will not have any legal right to the estate of their biological parent.

On the other hand, stepchildren do not have any legal rights if they have not been formally adopted by their stepparent. Although you can still leave assets, property, and wealth to your stepchildren, you have to create an estate plan that specifically mentions them. You must also state ‘stepchildren,’ and not just ‘children,’ so there is no confusion. If you do not have an estate plan at all and you have not legally adopted your stepchild, they will not have any rights to your estate when you pass away.

How to Include Stepchildren in Your Plan 

Fortunately, simply creating an estate plan can help you avoid the challenges intestate laws sometimes impose. The following steps can help protect your stepchildren:

  • Draft a will, or update your will, and ensure it specifically mentions your stepchildren and any inheritance you want to leave them.
  • Create or update a trust or other designation that specifically includes your stepchildren and the inheritance you are leaving them.
  • Review your retirement accounts, insurance policies, and other accounts that have designated beneficiaries and change them if necessary to make sure your stepchildren are included.
  • Consider appointing an adult stepchild as the personal representative of your estate or as power of attorney.

Our Estate Planning Attorney in Daytona Beach Can Ensure Your Family is Protected 

Blended families are a real blessing but they do require special considerations when planning your estate. At Bundza & Rodriguez, our Daytona Beach estate planning attorney can make sure your entire family is protected by helping you create a thorough and comprehensive plan. Call us today at 386-252-5170 or contact us online to schedule a free review of your case and to get more information.



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