Money Moral Dilemma: Should we change our wills to benefit our stepchildren?



  • pennypinchUK
    pennypinchUK Posts: 383 Forumite
    That you married 30 years ago is key here. Do you consider your step children to be as if they were your own? If so, it's more reasonable to split your assets between your 4 surviving individuals. If, however, you had/have substantially less contact with your 3 step-children (being teenagers when you married, they may have flown the nest soon after your marriage) you may consider it fairer for them to receive a lesser share.

    In either case, it's probably best that you tell people openly what your plans are, to save any horrible family splits when the will is announced when you're gone.
  • judy7007
    judy7007 Posts: 28 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Equal shares. The terms of a will show people how much you care about them.
  • Brian_Steele
    Brian_Steele Posts: 96 Forumite
    Going with the agreement you made 30 years ago sounds akin to a prenup and things may well have changed since then. All the kids are real grown-ups now, likely with kids of their own. In your heart, how do you feel about them - do you view your own on a completely different level from the others, or are they all just a part of the family now?

    It will be different in that the others were already teenagers, so not only ready-formed people but also (if my own teenager is anything to go by) not that willing to talk and bond with anyone, be they parent or step-parent, but so far down the line, are they now just a similar part of the same extended family as your own child?
  • Sooler
    Sooler Posts: 3,108 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Avatar73 wrote: »
    Umm..... along with the previous umpteen weeks that's also been stated!

    In the weekly email MSE elect to refrain from mentioning the word 'hypothetical', :money:so that is misleading.:shhh:
    POPPYOSCAR Posts: 14,897 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    I agree in principal that the split should be four ways after such a length of time, but are there any other circumstances to take in to consideration?

    My husband and I discussed similar as he has two children from a previous relationship and we are keen that they are included fairly in the split of our estate (we also have two children together).

    When my husband split from his then-girlfriend, he didn't take any money from the property, he left all of his share of the house for his daughters as part of their inheritance from him, so we will take that in to account when the time comes.

    We have both worked very hard during our time together and have built everything that we have together from nothing, so that all our four children can benefit.

    Hope that helps.

    What do you mean by "when the time comes"?

    Have you made wills to this effect?
  • Cookie1986
    Cookie1986 Posts: 20 Forumite
    Given the length of time that you have been married I would agree that it seems fair that your estate is shared equally.
    From your Son’s point of view he may feel that he is losing out because you had more assets when you started a new relationship. I would therefore strongly advise discussing your will with him. If he gets on his step siblings he may even agree, in which case you are worrying about nothing. If he is unhappy about it you just have to explain that you are doing what feels right and you are been open and honest about it.
    Ultimately it’s up to you (not your children / step children) how you split your estate and I guess every family has a different structure, so there are no right or wrong answers.
  • Chorlie
    Chorlie Posts: 1,029 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker Photogenic
    Like others have stated that after 30yrs it's more like one big family that has grown up together over time.

    However; It's not clear if your wife's children's father is still around; but if he is, then is he leaving his children anything in his will and will he be leaving your child anything, I'd guess not....

    You can either slpit it equal and treat everyone the same or you can consider each person and there own needs. My parents will is split 60/40 between myself and my sister (my sister is getting the 60%) for reason that I fully understand and accept.

    Whichever way its best to speak to your child first and give him your thoughts and see what they think, at least that way they know why you've set you will the why you decide.
  • rachiibell
    rachiibell Posts: 300 Forumite
    I would split it equally. You've all been a family for ages now and it would be a shame if the children fell out after you've gone because they weren't treated equally. However looking at whether any of them stand to inherit stuff from any other family members (your previous partners, ect) is a good idea. I would suggest that all adult members meet up and have a frank discussion about their wills.
  • First priority is to look after the surviving spouse and to have a mutual agreement between you on how the surviving spouse's estate should be dealt with (even if that agreement is 'it's up to you'). It's surprising how different the world looks five years after one spouse dies; care home to be paid for, perhaps powers of attorney needed, medical treatment, children divorcing, dozens of grandkids wanting education....
  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Posts: 11,199 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I agree that it would make a difference to me what the relationships are like. 30 years is a long time, and if your stepchildren have been a part of your family then it would seem fair to treat them equally. If they have, or are likely to have, inheritances from their father then you could take that into account (same with your son'e mother)

    Does it have to be either 50% or 25%? you could come to a compromise - say 30% to your son and 23% to each of your step children, or you could arrange to leave a specific lump sum to your son and the balance equally between all 4.
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
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