In the modern world, many people have stepchildren that they want to include in their estate plans. This was not always the case, of course. Over time, families have evolved. unfortunately, the law has not always evolved fast enough to keep pace with the modern family. People who want to make their stepchildren a part of their estate plans have to take extra steps to make that happen.
For many people, one of the more important aspects of their estate plans are their retirement savings. You can name someone as a beneficiary on a retirement savings account and when you pass away, whatever is left in the account goes to the beneficiary. However, it can get a bit complicated if you want to name a stepchild as a beneficiary. For a 401(k) account, you need the permission of your spouse to name a stepchild as a beneficiary. For an IRA, that is not an issue; you are free to name whoever you want.
There are many other ways in which the law treats stepchildren differently. Talk to an estate planning attorney about what you need to do to leave an inheritance to your stepchildren.
Duffy Law Office is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.