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Estate Planning for Blended Families in Illinois

 Posted on March 07, 2024 in Estate Planning

IL estate plan lawyerHaving a blended family can be wonderful. Many step-parents enjoy having “bonus children,” as the children may enjoy having “bonus parents.” Conversely, there may be significant conflict among blended families, especially if your step-children were already adults when you married their mother or father. Some children refuse to accept their step-parent. There are even situations where some people have step-children they barely know or have never met. You might also consider yourself part of a blended family if your own parents are divorced and you have close relationships with your step-siblings. Being part of a blended family can complicate your estate planning in some ways. If you have a blended family, it is important to clarify your familial relationships when you are working with a Yorkville, IL estate planning attorney.

How Step-Children Can Factor into Your Estate Plans

Under Illinois laws of descent and distribution, your step-children are not automatically considered your children for purposes of estate planning. You would need to formally adopt your step-children if you intend for them to count as your children under the law. However, this mainly applies to intestacy - dying without an estate plan. If you are taking the time to create an estate plan, you are free to specify that your step-children should be considered your children when it is time to carry out your plans. Your attorney can help you include language in your will or trust to make sure that your step-children are treated as your own children.

If it is your step-siblings or step-parent you want to protect in your will or trust, your lawyer can take similar measures to make sure those individuals receive the property you want to leave to them.

Leaving Your Step-Relatives Out of Your Estate Plans

If you are not on good terms with your step-family and do not want them to inherit anything from you, your lawyer can also take measures to ensure that they will not have a claim. Your attorney may want to state that the statutory definition should be used and that your step-relatives should not inherit.

Half-Siblings and Estate Planning

Illinois law makes no distinction between half-siblings and full-siblings. If your siblings are set to inherit, your half-siblings would be considered the same as any full-siblings you have. You can, of course, specify otherwise should you choose.

Contact a Yorkville, IL, Estate Planning Attorney for Blended Families 

Gateville Law Firm has worked with many blended families to create their ideal estate plans. Whether you want to protect or omit your step-relatives and half-relatives, our skilled team of Kendall County, IL, estate planning attorneys can help. Contact us at 630-780-1034 for a free consultation.

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