‘Do I have to include my late husband’s stepchildren in my will?’

Jun 03, 2020
Picking beneficiaries when estate planning means you should also be aware of the implications that could arise from leaving some parties out. Source: Getty.

Q: My husband recently passed away suddenly and I was his only beneficiary. I went to change my own will and was told I had to include the stepchildren as they are able to contest my will. But two of them were my husband’s stepchildren. making them my step-stepchildren, who are both in their 40s now do not dependent at all. I only have one stepchild, who was my husband’s child. Do I have to include the two step-stepchildren in my will and if not, can they contest my will?

A: You don’t have to do anything in your will that you don’t want to. In particular, you don’t have to provide for any children, whoever they are. As such, you are not required by law to provide for your step-stepchildren.

But there is one thing you need to be aware of in making your will in the way you want to – what are the implications of what you put in your will? This is usually the most important role a lawyer plays in assisting you to make your will. One of those implications might relate to the possibility of someone challenging your will.

There are only three types of people (in Queensland, at least) who can challenge your will – a spouse, a child or a dependant. In the context of your question, ‘child’ includes a stepchild but not a step-stepchild. The answer to that part of your question then, is no.

If you have a question for Starts at 60’s money experts, email it to [email protected].

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services advice.

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Have you inherited an estate? Did you then have to reorganise your own estate?

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