How to Keep Your Stepchildren from Inheriting Your Assets in Florida

Many who remarry and suddenly have stepchildren often wonder what inheritance rights their new children-in-law have. And beyond that, many want to know how to prevent their stepchildren from inheriting their assets. In Florida, the rules are clear when it comes to stepchildren and inheritance rights.

Stepchildren and Inheritance Rights

If you are wondering what inheritance rights your stepchildren have over your assets, the answer is none. Florida law is clear that stepchildren are not in line for the assets of their deceased stepparents. Only a person’s legal child is considered to have inheritance rights.

However, there is an exception that is not really an exception. If you have a stepchild and choose to adopt them legally, they will become your legal child. And in this case, they will have inheritance rights over your assets.

The question of whether a stepchild can inherit your assets will come up only if you pass away intestate. Intestate means you have died without leaving a valid will. If you die without a will, the court will distribute your estate according to the laws of probate and inheritance, which have no provisions for stepchildren.

However, if you have a will, the court will, after validating your will, make sure that your assets go to whom you wish.

But it is important to note that even though probate laws and your will provide no inheritance rights for stepchildren, your stepchildren may eventually get their hands on your assets. How is this possible?

Remember that your spouse is the legal parent of your stepchildren. So if you leave all of your assets to your spouse, your stepchildren will now be in line to inherit these assets in the event of your spouse’s death. Your spouse may also decide to gift your stepchildren with some of your assets.

So although your stepchildren cannot directly inherit your assets, they may still come to be in possession of them.

How to Keep Your Stepchildren from Inheriting Your Assets in Florida

There are steps you can take to prevent your stepchildren from ever getting their hands on your assets. But doing so will require strategic estate planning with an experienced attorney.

First, you should create a valid will in which you name your heirs without including your stepchildren. If your spouse is to receive your assets, be aware that their children (your stepchildren) will be able to inherit these assets.

Another way to avoid having your stepchildren potentially inherit your assets from their parent is to form a trust. In this trust, you can name your spouse as the beneficiary so they can enjoy the fruits of the assets until they pass.

In the terms of the trust, you can stipulate who you would like to receive the undisbursed trust funds and make it someone other than your stepchildren.

Call to Speak With an Estate Planning Attorney from Our Team Today

In-depth estate planning will help ensure that your assets go where you want them to go. Contact an experienced estate planning attorney from The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm for help and peace of mind.