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Stepchildren may get a smaller inheritance

When parents have both biological children and stepchildren, they may claim that they have the same close relationship with all of their kids. However, the data from estate divisions tells a different story.

Specifically, reports have found that the odds of parents breaking up the estate in an unequal manner is roughly 30% higher if they got divorced and remarried, giving them a blended family. The implication, of course, is that the parent may give more to their biological children than they give to their stepchildren.

Granted, there are a lot of factors at play here. For instance, how old were the children when their parents get married? If the stepchildren were already teens and about to head off to college, is it any surprise that the other parent would feel less close to them, having not watched them grow up? Also, do those children expect an inheritance from their other biological parent? If so, maybe the unequal bequest from one is just to make up for the fact that they have a larger secondary source of an inheritance.

What we do know, though, is that unequal bequests often lead to estate disputes. Children are not always happy to find out that their siblings got more than they did, and they may even accuse those siblings of acting against them in some way -- using undue influence, for example -- to get it. When something like this happens, especially in a blended family that already has a rather complicated relationship, it is important for all involved to know what options they have.

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Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC
7331 196th Street, SW
P.O. Box 1067
Lynnwood, WA 98046

Phone: 425-329-7857
Phone: 425-776-3191
Fax: 425-775-0406
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