Never-Ending Wars: Large Families and Inheritance

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January 1, 2014 by generationsprobate

One of the many things plaguing people working on their wills is how to make sure that everyone gets their fair slice of one’s assets, hopefully, without leaving anyone feeling betrayed or deprived. This problem escalates in the case of extended families or those with multiple spouses (hence, multiple heirs that might not be in good terms with each other).

One such issue involves stepchildren. California laws typically exclude stepchildren from inheriting from a step parent, unless the children have been adopted and/or have been named in a will by the step parent. In cases where the step parent dies without a will, stepchildren who were not adopted can be beneficiaries if it can be proven that they would have been adopted were it not for legal barriers, or if the relationship between step parent and step children started when the latter were still minors.

Understandably, married couples with families from previous relationships can get entangled in the many legal issues surrounding inheritances. For example, some parents might want their biological children to get all or most of their assets when they die, while others might want their stepchildren to receive a fair share as well.

Whatever the situation might be for a blended family, estate planning works to resolve much of the issues in the event of a person’s death. A person has several tools at his disposal to ensure that his assets are disseminated as he wishes after his death – and these include a will.


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Generations is a Sacramento-based estate and trust law firm, providing quality legal counsel in Estate and Tax Planning, Trust Administration, Probate Administration and Elder Law. The name reflects the firm's position as a devoted ally that helps families and businesses make informed decisions about their futures, from one generation to the next.



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