Swiren Law Firm, P.A.

Your Legacy

  1. Home
  2.  – 
  3. Estate Planning
  4.  – Does Florida recognize stepchildren as legal heirs?

Does Florida recognize stepchildren as legal heirs?

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2020 | Estate Planning | 0 comments

Marrying for the second time sometimes means you bring into the family children from the previous marriage of the new spouse. If you do have stepchildren, you may become close to them and want them to inherit something from you after you pass away. However, if you do not include stepchildren in a Florida will, chances are they may not receive anything from you. 

Smart Asset explains that Florida intestate laws designate spouses or biological children as legal heirs. This means that if you die without a will, a Florida court would automatically consider your spouse or children for inheritance rights. If you had a spouse but no children, your spouse would likely receive everything. Conversely, if you die with children but no spouse, your children would inherit your estate. 

Such consideration also extends to children you adopt. Adopted children have the same inheritance rights as biological children. However, the law does not consider stepchildren as automatic heirs. The fact that your new spouse has children from a prior relationship does not mean the law automatically considers them eligible to inherit from you, although this would likely change if you adopted your stepchildren. 

Even if you do not adopt your stepchildren, you may still make sure they inherit from you by designating your stepchildren as legal heirs in your will. The will should state what the stepchildren shall receive from you after your passing. If you already have a will, you may need to update it. In some cases, a person remarries but neglects to change an old will to provide an inheritance for a new family. 

Due to the fact that Florida families have varying needs, you should only consider this article as general information on estate planning and not as legal advice.