Dealing with Half-Siblings and Stepchildren in Your Will

Posted on the behalf of Robert Turner,
Family Photo

Blended families are not uncommon in the state of Georgia. If you have left a relationship that resulted in children, you may wonder how it impacts a last will and testament. For instance, a new relationship may lead to you having more children or taking on stepchildren.

This type of scenario can raise the question of who is considered a beneficiary. There are legal considerations that may influence how you create a will. It is important to understand that legal language is often rigid. If you do not make your intentions clear, it could result in some of your children unintentionally losing out.

Half-Siblings

There is no difference between half-siblings and children from a previous relationship or marriage. Although some states do consider such children as lesser in respect to inheritance rights, this is not the case under Georgia law.

All biological and adopted children have the same inheritance rights. So, a child from a first marriage is equal to children from another relationship. Assets are distributed among these siblings equally because they are all considered biological or legal dependents.

Stepchildren

In a modern blended family, it is not unusual for a partner or spouse to take on stepchildren as if they are their own. However, from a legal perspective, these children may not have an entitlement to inheritance.

One of the main issues that impacts on stepchildren in estate planning is the use of generalized language. If phrasing in a last will and testament includes words such as “heirs” or “my children,” it is assumed that you are referring to biological or adopted children.

The simple solution is to name stepchildren and specify what they will inherit. You may wish to split your assets equally among biological children, adopted children, and stepchildren. Leaving a financial gift to a stepchild or bequeathing assets and possessions are some of the solutions you may choose.

You are not obligated to leave finances to provide support for a stepchild via inheritance in the event of your death. However, if you do wish to include the new addition to your family, reach out to Turner Law for help in creating a last will and testament.

Posted on behalf of Turner Law, LLC