Negotiating Your Will When Stepchildren are a Factor

Negotiating Your Will When Stepchildren are a Factor

In some situations, drafting a will can be a complex matter, especially if you have a large and extended family and many people you would like to name as beneficiaries. If you have stepchildren, you may wish to dictate exactly how your assets and property will be distributed to these individuals upon your passing.

Occasionally, in situations where stepchildren are an issue, a interpreting a will can be a tricky matter. Often, wills use boilerplate language such as “children” or “heirs,” and they can be silent on exactly how broad is the definition of those words. If a will was drafted prior to a marriage in which a stepfamily relationship was established, this can become even more difficult.

When drafting your will, it is important to be very specific in your language. Rather than just using general titles (such as “children” or “heirs”), some people choose instead to use individuals’ names. This is a good option, but it may cause problems should a child be born after the will is drafted. Likewise, it should be clear from the language of your will whether terms like “children” or “grandchildren” include stepchildren and their children.

If stepparents want to include stepchildren in a will, they should expressly say so.  If they are to be excluded, it is a good idea to make that clear in the will as well.

For further guidance and advice on creating a sound will or other estate planning documents, speak with a skilled Florida attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.