The treatment of step-relations

Many people think that “step-children” and “step-grandchildren” come within the class definition of “children” and “grandchildren” within a person’s Estate but this is not the case.

The legal definition of “children” includes both legitimate and illegitimate offspring and a gift to “grandchildren” includes legitimate and illegitimate grandchildren and does not therefore include step relations.  Should a person intend to benefit a “step-child” or “step-grandchildren” in their Will, they must clearly be identified, as they do not fall within this class of relations. 

If a person dies not having made a valid Will, the Rules of Intestacy apply, meaning the law dictates who inherits a person’s Estate and the Rules do not make provision for “step-children” or “step-grandchildren” to benefit.  

In order to prevent the Rules of Intestacy applying, an individual should prepare a Will to stipulate the persons to whom they wish to benefit. 

If you would like advice regarding this article or if you wish to make a Will, please contact Gemma Rogers of a member of our Wills and Probate Department at any of our offices.

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