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Adult stepchildren in will

(40 Posts)
firsttimejoj Tue 03-Jan-17 21:35:14

Hi there,

DH and myself are writing our first will and I'm struggling to work out how best to include my two adult stepchildren whom I have never lived with or brought up.

DH and I have a young family (one year old DD and a DS on the way). Since being together we have worked hard to build an asset base which will be worth a considerable value to the people who will inherit.

My quandary is how to include DH's two adult children. They are 23 and 24yrs old and live and work in Brazil (where they grew up with their mum and DH before the marriage broke up). I got together with DH when his children were 13 and 14 years old.

My relationship to both of them is very limited. DH is unfortunately estranged from the youngest, so I have no contact with him. I have a good relationship with the eldest (I say hi to him when DH is on Skype with him and we spend time together when we visit Brazil every few years).

At the moment we're talking about leaving 80% to our common children and 20% to DH's two children. Would you say this is fair? Too much/too little?

Thanks in advance

Motherfuckers Tue 03-Jan-17 21:40:54

I think they should get 25%. As your DH should leave his assets equally between his children. Did he pay maintenance? Because that would change my response.

firsttimejoj Tue 03-Jan-17 21:42:34

DH paid maintenance to the ex until the children were 20 and 21.

Chewbecca Tue 03-Jan-17 21:43:27

Your 50% split between your 2 children, his 50% split 4 ways between his 4 children.

Snapespeare Tue 03-Jan-17 21:46:22

But you have 50% of the assets each, so your 50% would go straight to your two children and his 50% would be split equally between his four children... So they would get 12.5% each and each of your children would get 37.5% (I have a disagreeable approach to figures, but that seems about right. Your step children would also inherit from their mothers family.

gillybeanz Tue 03-Jan-17 21:47:45

I'm on the fence with this one tbh as my dh is a step child and what his parents have done seems wrong.
I think you need to have separate wills and dh leave an equal share to all his dc and you to split your share in your dc favour with perhaps a token to the step children.
I do know it's not fair to presume the other parent will automatically have money to leave the step children, thus leaving them less because of this.

Xmasfairy86 Tue 03-Jan-17 21:47:52

What chewbecca said

firsttimemama Tue 03-Jan-17 21:48:00

Chewbecca's solution sounds good, so in effect it is a 75/25 split and the older two get 12.5% each.

gillybeanz Tue 03-Jan-17 21:50:39

Do you mean dh is leaving 20% to his 2 children from his first marriage and 80% from his second?
So they get 10% each?
If this is the case, why do your dc take precedence over his?

firsttimejoj Tue 03-Jan-17 21:51:06

Thanks ladies. That seems a good solution.

gillybeanz Tue 03-Jan-17 21:54:08

I hope his first wife/ family have money to leave them, I can't believe people think it fair to treat step children so differently.
It absolutely stinks, it's not about the money but knowing how much you mean to your parents.
So it's not much for the poor first borns sad

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 03-Jan-17 21:58:17

I think the 50/50 split outlined by Chewbecca is the perfect solution.

NotLadyPrickshit Tue 03-Jan-17 22:00:21

My stepfather passed away 9 years ago leaving everything to my mother.

Her will states that everything (other than her personal jewellery collection) is to be sold & split 6 ways - only 3 of us are her children (not his) but she would never dream of denying his 3 biological children their inheritance & only include her own children in her will!

OP you may only have two children however your husband has four & IMO they should all receive an equal share.

HermioneWeasley Tue 03-Jan-17 22:01:10

As others have said, you leave your half of the estate to your kids, and he splits his half equally between all of his.

Chewbecca Tue 03-Jan-17 22:01:20

???? gilly I see this solution as treating step children exactly the same. The father is treating his children equally and the mother is treating her children equally.

WhistlerGrey Tue 03-Jan-17 22:22:52

That split only works when all the children are adults - until then extra provision absolutely should be for the as yet unborn child and the 1 year old to see them through to adulthood in the tragic occurrence of both parents dying.

Xmasfairy86 Tue 03-Jan-17 22:30:18

Why should kids OP has had little to no hand in raising benefit from her death? She provides for her children, her DH provides for his, 2 of which are the same children. His biological children have a mother also, who presumably will also provide for those SC of OP.

gillybeanz Tue 03-Jan-17 22:31:56


me too, and I think far fairer for the children.
My dh parents have told him and me the split they intend, and whilst dh says he isn't surprised or bothered i can tell that he is.
I think the worst mistake any parent can make is to presume the other parent has money to leave the dc or that the other parent will be fair.
It must be awful for your parents to have new families and not be treated as an equal to their other children.

My parents weren't divorced and when one died the other completely changed the plans that were laid down when there were both of them alive.

CactusFred Tue 03-Jan-17 22:38:04

I completely agree with the solution Chewbacca has suggested. In fact it's the only answer that makes sense to me!

CarlitosWay Tue 03-Jan-17 22:42:12

I agree with ChewBecca. It's the normal fair way to split wills where there are stepchildren and I also agree with Whistler that there needs to be extra provision for children.

JustWoman Tue 03-Jan-17 23:03:18

Some split equally between all children, others split dads share between dads children and mums share between hers.

I know with the latter it looks like the DC from orevious marriage are being treat unfairly, but they are getting the same share from their actual parent as their siblings.

They've got less because they've inherited from one parent, whereas the children from second marriage are inheriting from two parents, then there's also the fact the older DC are financially independent, and if they were young they'd still have a Parent to provide for them, and who they also could inherit from in future. If something happened to you both now, your children wint have a parent left to financially support them.

If you split equally between all children, the older ones could inherit from two biological parents as well as Stepmum

My Dad took myself and db off his will and replaced us with his wife's son and their joint dd when I was 10 years old. Didn't find out any money had even been left until two years after his death when stepmum threw at brother to hurt him and say that dad didn't want us. (Stepmum says it was all left to my disabled sister for her care, which is right thing to do, but she took most of it and gave to step brother, stel brother and everyone else says was left to him, either way they've blown the lot and my sister doesn't have the care she needs as a result) Ironically db and I inherited £200 pounds from an uncle who died without leaving a will and Dads share was passed my db, my half sister and myself, step mum was livid and said it should be her sons and that we needed to hand it over.

It's a minefield, but you sound like you're trying to do it fairly, I'd go with the second suggestion with your share going to your DC and you his split between his. Dh and his ex w are responsible for their joint DC and if is ex doesn't have much to leave them, that shouldn't mean you take off your children to make up for it.

firsttimejoj Wed 04-Jan-17 06:23:40

Thanks for your considered comments everyone. My heart goes out to those of you who have been on the unfair end of this debate. Wills can be a terribly sad thing, which is what we're trying to avoid.

Treaclex Wed 04-Jan-17 07:09:16

Recently had this convo with my sister I'm not bothered what's left to me but know that my view may change when the time comes yet my sister ( different father ) knows exactly what our mums house is worth, her dad's and even my dad's confused some people are greedy !! She asked what we planned to do as we have 6 kids between us hubby has 3 adult children prior to our 3 and for me I have one almost adult still dependent on us and two that are fully dependent on us so their needs must be met first. I must say I think the fairest way is to divide 50/50 between the parents then split respectively to each of the children from their parent/s

MistressMaisie Wed 04-Jan-17 07:19:35

You could offer the sdcs a sum now if they would prefer that, though you will have to come up with a figure, avoids inheritance tax risk, possible death and remarriage complications. Then young DCs share what's left (care home fee risk).

KERALA1 Wed 04-Jan-17 07:24:03

Am frequently surprised at how often adult Dc from first marriage are cut out entirely.

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