Estate planning is more difficult today than it used to be because the modern family often includes people that the law does not account for. That’s because the law originates from an earlier time when families were different than the are today.
One common area where this is seen is with stepchildren. Today, it is not unusual for people to have stepchildren that they have raised from infancy. However, the law does not do a good job of accounting for these stepchildren. In most cases, if you do not have an estate plan, the stepchildren will not receive any inheritance from you. Even if you do have an estate plan and mention your children in it, the law will not assume that you meant to include your stepchildren. In fact, it normally assumes the exact opposite: that you meant to exclude them.
This means that if you have stepchildren that you want to leave an inheritance, you need to make special plans to make that happen. Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney about how you can do that.