Stepchildren who are not adopted by their stepparent are not legally considered their child under Illinois intestate law and do not have inheritance rights. If you legally adopt a stepchild they will be treated exactly the same as your biological children according to Illinois inheritance laws. Illinois provides for the adoption of adult children, provided the adult consents to be adopted.
Stepchildren and Illinois Inheritance Laws
If you die without a will in Illinois, your assets will go to your closest relatives according to intestate succession laws. This would not include your stepchildren unless you legally adopted them.
If adoption is not an option, you can control what your stepchildren will receive following your death through estate planning. An up-to-date will is the best way to provide for any stepchildren who you want to inherit your estate, but who are not your legally adopted children. A will designates who your beneficiaries are and what they will inherit, and can also specifically exclude anyone from an inheritance, including stepchildren.
A will is a legally binding document that makes life easier for your family, including any stepchildren, after you die by explaining your decisions and legally make sure your wishes are carried out. Many families experience conflict after the death of a loved one, including the beneficiary designations. By creating a will or updating your current will you can make your wishes clear and protect your stepchild so that they are treated the same as your biological children or any adopted children:
• how you want your assets distributed including any stepchildren
• who will manage any financial assets on behalf of your minor stepchildren
When you create a will, you take charge of your estate and choose how your estate will be distributed and who will take care of your minor children. A legally executed will guarantees your wishes are respected, and your children will be cared for by a guardian you trust.
Making a will to protect your stepchildren doesn’t have to be difficult. An experienced estate and probate lawyer can guide you through the process so nothing is overlooked, and you can be sure that your will complies with Illinois probate laws. To talk to probate, trust and estates attorney. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at (630) 382-8063.