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New Jersey estate planning may be different for step-children

With many people going through divorces or losing a spouse in their lifetime, and then remarrying, there can be many different family structures. The modern American family can include step-children, which parents come to love as their own biological children. When making out a will or total estate plan, people might often hope to include their step-children, under the umbrella of "children" worded in their will.

However, sometimes, it is necessary to specifically name the children they want to include, as the law in some case might not consider step-children to be children in terms of estate planning. If family is close, they may decide that the step-children should be included in the estate even after a person's death, but this could require additional legal steps.

People who may have experienced a divorce or marriage with children that aren't biologically or legally those of both spouses might be wise to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney in New Jersey to help ensure the wording of their estate planning documents is totally in line with their wishes. Not taking specific action to include some people in an estate plan could inadvertently exclude them from the estate distribution.

While this can be fixed if the other beneficiaries of an estate all agree to include the person, it might send a mixed signal to a loved one, and make them feel as if they weren't considered. An estate planning attorney can ask questions about your wishes to help ensure all wording is appropriate and consistent across estate planning documents.

Source: NWI.com, "ESTATE PLANNING: Planning for stepchildren," Christopher W. Yugo, Feb. 23, 2013

-Our law firm handles various estate planning needs in New Jersey. Please visit our website to learn more.

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