Post # 1
My husband and I are expecting our first child together and he has a child from a previous relationship. My family is well-off and his parents have no money (no savings, do not own a home etc.). I do not know much about the financial situation of his child’s mother’s family.
While drafting our will I proposed that if either one of us dies, the estate will be left to the surviving spouse. In the event that both of us die, I wanted to leave 75% of our estate to our biological child and 25% of the estate to his child, excluding my inheritance which would only go to our biological child.
My husband seems to be on the same page as me but my Mother-In-Law says that I am not being fair to his first child. I feel that our biological child only has one set of parents, and that his first child will benefit from the finances of her mother’s family. What have other step-parents done in my situation?
Post # 3
Our will is set to split it equally between both of our sons. The oldest is from a prior relationship, and we have one together. We always treat both of them as equally our children, so this wasn’t even something we thought to do.
I imagine if something happened to you later in life, and the kids were together hearing the will this would be hurtful to know the first child is getting less? I think if I were in that position I would feel like the bio child was more important to my parents. But that’s just how I personally would feel.
Post # 4
Well, she WOULD say that.. she has no money….
I don’t think your step kid should be on the same playing field as your biological child when it comes to your family’s estate. Being that I am someone’s step daughter, I would never expect to receive equal to what her bio children will get when she passes away. Or anything even. I’m not her child.
Post # 5
I think what I would do is split the estate, minus your inheritence. Your stepchild has a whole other set of family to proide for them, that family wouldn’t give any of their money to your child (and no one would expect them to). If your Fiance is onboard I wouldn’t discuss this with any other family, it isn’t any of thier business.
Post # 6
@MsJ2theZ: I am a step-child too and feel the same way as you. I am also a mom of kids with different dads and I would never expect a step-mother of my children to split things the same.
Post # 7
@lolita2011: I am a child in such a scenario.
I expect to receive nothing from my step-mother in terms of inheritance (granted I was 20 or so when she appeared, my youngest brother 11). I expect that anything of hers will be left to my half brother.
I assume that my dad will equally divide his assets between the 5 of us. If my Step-mom were to pass first I still anticipate that everything would be left to dad and half-brother with the stipulation that all funds are to be used to support my half brother and anything ‘left over’ should be left in its entiretly to him in my fathers will.
It is a complicated thing.
Post # 8
@lolita2011: I didn’t vote becuase they don’t apply to me. However, as a stepchild, I would have never even considered that any money of my stepmom’s would be left to me. She and my dad have a child together, and I would natuarally assume that any money she inherits from her family would be left to my dad and then to my sister (her daughter). However, my dad will split the money equally between us 3 kids.
I think it’s totally fair that your inheritance would go 100% to your child. However, I’m not totally sure I’m in agreement that your shared estate/money should go 75% to your child together, and only 25% to his child. If the money is also your DH’s (we’re not talking your inheritance here) I feel like that money should go 50/50 – but that’s just me. I don’t think it’s right for your DH to just assume that in the event of his death his first child shouldn’t recieve the same amount as any of his other children – simply because he has a different mom. Again, I am 100% in support of your personal money, including inheritance, be designated to only your child. I just think that when you enter into a marriage with someone who has a child, you accept that you JOINT finances go to support that child as well.
Post # 9
@ieatunicorns: I agree that it is not MIL’s business, but when she was at our home she saw the draft I left on the printer. It was not a conversation I ever wanted to have, but it made me curious to think about what others have done in my situation.
Post # 10
There are five of us, three from my Mom’s first marriage and my brother and I are from the second marriage. If my parents had died while we were underage, one of my brother’s actually would have inherited us, and controlled the money until after college. As we aged out of this will, different things took over, who we married and how much money went to college for us, so I think there’s a small amount to be split between three of us.
Post # 11
@lolita2011: I have been raised my whole life by my stepmother and my father. I am the appointed executor of my father’s will and my half brother is the executor of my stepmother’s will (her son). In both wills, everything is split evenly.
I think it depends on how you feel about the child. If you feel like that child is your own then, you shouldnt treat them differently in your will. Although I have to also say, if you feel like you should treat this child differently in your will, then you likely treat them differently in everyday life and that can be damaging to the kid.
Bottom line: treat them the same.
Sorry dont want to be judgmental, I’ve just gone through a lot with my family so some personal feelings linger. PM if you want to ask, I am happy to help from a child-perspective.
Post # 12
I don’t think its wrong at all to give your biological child more. And if you and your spouse are ont he same page about it, that’s all that matters.
Maybe if you feel its necessary, change it to a 60/40 split instead, something to amke it not quite so uneven.
Post # 13
This may sound petty, and it may be all the new mommy hormones in me feeling extra protective, but if we split the estate 50/50 among the kids, then my step-child essentially has three parents and my bio child only has two. Wouldn’t that make my bio child feel less important?
Currently, DH and his ex split everything with the child 50/50. We cover half of the tuition for school, clothes etc. We have discussed that later on down the line, we would put up half of the funds for a car and college tuition with the expectation that the mother would cover the other half. Of course with our bio child, we would pay all tuition for private school and other expenses.
I guess, this was my line of thinking when it came to the will. We are fully responsible for our child, but only half financially responsible for his child. The mother is also responsible for the step-child’s future. That is why I was leaning toward giving our child more.
Post # 14
- Wedding: May 2013 - Pavilion overlooking golf course scenery, reception at banquet hall
Tough question… I can see the first child feeling like his/her dad favored the new child more with such a wide split. And if he’s dead, there’s no chance to explain intent – there’s just feelings. When my mom died she had some things in her will that we really wanted to ask her about the intent of, i.e. naming my aunt to be my guardian, instead of my own dad or my godparents. I was no longer a minor so it didn’t apply, but it’s still a big ? in my brain.
More questions to ask yourself:
If the child’s mother remarried, will you cut the child out of the will entirely because now he/she has 4 parents from which to inherit from instead of 2 like the new child?
Was your or your husband’s salary and savings higher when married? Is a 60/40 split feasible?
Post # 15
@lolita2011: But that’s not your stepchild’s fault that they have 3 parents. Why should they not recieve their fair share of inheritance from their father just because he had a child with someone else?
Like I said, I’m 100% in support that any of your family money/inheritance should go to your bio child. I would NEVER in a million years assume that any of my stepmom’s family money would be left to me. However, I think it would be absolutely terrible if my dad left more of his money to my younger sister than to me for no reason other than the fact that my stepmom thinks that’s how it should be.
Post # 16
@lolita2011: And just another thought….. what happens if down the road you get divorced and remarried, and have a baby with your new spouse. What if the tables were turned and your spouse feels like 75% of your JOINT money should be left to the child you share simply because your older child has another parent who could (potentially) be leaving them something? How do you even know what your stepchild’s mom or her family has to leave? For all you know, it could be nothing. So now your DH’s child get’s 25% of an inheritance while yours gets 75% PLUS your own personal inheritance passed down?