Inheritance Issues With Step Children
| One important consequence resulting due to an increased rate of divorce is a huge increase in the number of stepchildren. However, many countries have not addressed the legal rights of stepchildren in issues related to inheritance.
As a result, several cases are now lying in the court where stepchildren make claims to the property of their stepparents.
Legal rights of inheritance of stepchildren are in sharp contrast with those of natural or adopted children. According to inheritance law in England and several other countries, stepchildren do not have any legal right on inheritance of property of their stepparents unless anything is specified in the will. Intestacy is the word used to describe an estate or property of a person who dies without leaving a will. In these situations, assets are distributed according to the Intestates’ Estates Act. Family members do not have any say about the distribution of money and possessions of the deceased person. Under this law, no provisions have been made for stepchildren unless they are legally adopted.
Hence, it is important for parents to make a will if they have any stepchildren in order to avoid any inheritance issues. It would be even easier to resolve such issues if someone makes it clear in their will why they are not leaving anything to the stepchild.
However, there are certain exceptions under the inheritance law. In certain cases, children of previous marriages can sometimes make claims to part of the estate of their parents, unless the will stipulates that it has to go to the surviving husband or wife. In these issues, the stepchildren have a blood relation with one of the parent. Hence, a portion of the property gets passed on to them.
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