Estate planning is essential for individuals to make sure that their family is protected and that their property is distributed according to the individual’s precise wishes rather than in accordance with Oklahoma law. Dying without adequate estate planning in Oklahoma City or any part of Oklahoma can greatly the amount of obstacles and issues that are encountered surrounding one’s death. One of the groups that is often left uncertain about exactly how estate planning matters should proceed are step children, who frequently have questions about intestacy rights.
Who Is Considered A Step Child
Step children are the children of an individual’s partner or spouse. In order to be considered a step child, the child need not be adopted by an individual. In the event that adoption does occur, a step-child legally becomes an individual’s child with the same relationship in the eyes of the law as biological children. Because no legal relationship exists between an individual and a step child, an individual has no obligation to leave anything to the individual’s step child. While Oklahoma has laws that protect children who are accidentally left out of a will and assign a percentage of an estate to children whose parent dies without a will, these requirements do not apply to a step child.
How Intestacy Law Applies to Step-Children in Oklahoma
In order for children to automatically under Oklahoma intestacy law, Oklahoma must consider an individual to legally be the child of the deceased individual. Because no legal relationship exists between a step child and an individual, a step-child is never not entitled to automatically receive a share from a deceased step parent. Step-parents should understand that step children are frequently excluded from the estate planning process and that the relationship between the surviving spouse and step child will likely change after the step parent’s death.
How to Use Estate Planning to Provide for Step Children
For individuals who want to leave a gift to a step child, individuals can leave a step child a percentage of an entire estate or even can leave particular gifts to the step child. In addition to using a will, an individual leave gifts to a step child by using a living trust, a special needs trust if the step child is eligible for government disability benefits, or a life insurance policy. If individuals wish to avoid making gifts to step children, it is a wise idea to avoid the use of terms like “children”, “descendants”, or “issue” to describe one’s children because step-children might be included in these definitions.
Retain the Services of a Talented Oklahoma Estate Planning Attorney
If you are a step-child who is interested in any aspect of the estate planning process, the assistance of a skilled estate planning attorney can prove essential in making sure that an individual’s case resolves in the best potential manner. Attorney Jim A. Lyon at the Jim A. Lyon Law Firm in Oklahoma City has significant experience helping individuals in a variety of estate planning issues. Do not hesitate to contact our law firm today.