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Are my stepchildren considered my next of kin?

Hesperia, CA |

I have married a man with one daughter and one stepson. If I should pass I would want everything to go to him, if we pass together I would want everything to go to his daughter and his stepson not to my family. His children are now like mine. Are they considered my next of kin since I have no blood children or do I need to do a will? They are down as beneficiaries on my policies and are agents for my health decisions.

Attorney Answers 4


Maybe. Intestacy is about the worst way handle your question. A better way is to grab a Nolo Press "Wills" CD and make a simple will for about $40.00 listing Hansel and Gretel as your Beneficiaries. The Silver solution would be to have a Will prepared by a licensed CA Estate Planning Attorney, but that will still require Probate for houses and general household crap. A lot of financial accounts already have Pay on Death beneficiary provisions. The Platinum solution may be a Living Trust, which could avoid Probate altogether. That could be discussed with the Estate Planning attorney.

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Edna Carroll Straus

Edna Carroll Straus


Actually a trust is cheaper in the end (probate fees are statutory and higher then the cost of a trust) and an trust (IV) also dictates what happens if you are unable to handle your affairs due to illness or incapacity. But PLEASE doe NOT die intestate! Your heirs will be miserable,


Not much to add. Prior attorney hit a bulls eye on this one.

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I agree with counsel above. The best way to ensure your estate passes to the people you wish is to protect yourself and your family through estate planning tools. If you pass without a will or other estate planning devices, your estate will pass to individuals as determined by statute (via "intestacy") and you have no control to stop it. I would also highly recommend the tools and materials suggested by Mr. Corson above, as well as seeking estate planning advice from a probate attorney.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response may change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California and in the State of Oregon. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.

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You need a will. Yiour step- children donott become legal next of kin, merely because you have no blood children. Unless you legally adopt them, you had no children,s ame as apeerson who has neither blood nor step. Your assets would pass to your next closely related by blood, your parents if living, otherwisw your siblings.

Sonya Mittelman is aNew York attorney and hence her answers ar ebased on New Yotrk Law. Please seek advice from acompetant attorney in youru own state

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