How to Leave Gifts in Your Estate Plan to Stepchildren

January 18, 2014

Trusts have documents that need to be notarized.  Often they have to be updated. This article, from a Sacramento Estate Planning firm, is about leaving gifts to stepchildren and it may be a case where you have to update your trust.

Today, blended families have become increasingly common, and many individuals have step-children, that is, children of a spouse or partner. In situations where step-children have not been legally adopted, however, they do not have a legal right to an inheritance from a step-parent. For those who wish to leave step-children part of their estate , it is necessary to include them in an estate plan.

The easiest way to leave gifts to step-children is to name them in a will. As with any other gift, they can be given a percentage of the estate, or specific gifts. If there are other children involved, it is important to avoid confusion by naming each child and step-child by using their individual names, rather than terms such as "descendants," "heirs," or "children."

There are also a number of estate planning tools that can be utilized to include step-children in an inheritance. If the objective is to avoid probate, for example, a revocable living trust can be established in which a step-child is named as a beneficiary. Moreover, it may be necessary to provide for a disabled step-child who is eligible for public benefits by establishing a special needs trust. Lastly, a step-child can also be named as a beneficiary in a life insurance policy or a pay-on-death financial account.

While there is no legal obligation to leave step-children an inheritance, it may be the best choice for those who have a close relationship, or played a significant role, in raising them. However, this will reduce the amount of assets available to other children and beneficiaries. Because blended family relationships are complex and subject to emotional challenges, it is important to explain these decisions with all family members.

By engaging in an open and honest dialogue, you can minimize the potential for strife and the possibility of a will contest. In particular, it is important to clarify why you gave each recipient a gift, the selection of your executor, and your thoughts about the family.  Lastly, you are well advised to engage the services of an estate planning attorney who can help ensure your wishes regarding step-children are carried out.
  1. California Apostilla para certificados de nacimiento
    17 Feb, 2019
    California Apostilla para certificados de nacimiento
    Sometimes we don't have a current birth certificate to get an Apostille.  The first step is to order a birth certified copy in one from the California County offices, the forms usually have to be filled and notarized.  Let us know if you need to find a notary in your area. Example: Notaries in Gualala:   Noma 707-882-1320, Office Source 707-884-9640 Underwood Velina 707-884-1066 A.M. Stenberg, 707-357-1426 Cecelia Gene Curlee 707-495-3714 After you notarize the document you can bring/mail



If you are pursuing an international adoption for a Hague Convention country, you have no doubt heard the word “ apostille” or Apostilla in Spanish. An apostille is simply a form of authentication applied to documents for use overseas by the competent authority in the state where it was issued, usually your Secretary of State’s office. It is required for those countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961, Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization of Foreign Public Documents (Hague Apostille Convention). This international treaty simplified the authentication of public documents to be used in nations that are members of this convention. The United States is one of those countries.
This  list of countries that accept apostilles.

 Questions about Apostille?  Get answers now 

Servicio de Apostilla o apostillado; legalizacion de documentos procesados en la Secretaria del Estado de California.

Sacramento Notary Public

Carmichael Notary

California Apostille

Servicio de Apostilla