Q: When I married my husband I took on his two children as their mother had died some years earlier. I effectively became their mother and when my husband and I had two more children of our own, all four were treated and loved equally. The children are now all grown up and we are in our early seventies.
My husband however is not in good health and this prompted me to look again at the Wills we made several years ago. On doing so I noticed that in my Will it refers to ‘my children’ in terms of bequests. As I didn’t ever formally adopt my step-children it occurs to me that I should check whether ‘my children’ would include them?
A: You were very wise to check your Will, especially if it was made a while ago. In fact everyone should make a Will early on in life and revisit it at regular intervals, as changes to circumstances can make a big difference and in some cases prevent a deceased’s true wishes being carried out.
Step-children are not included in the definition of ‘children’ for the purposes of making a Will. Only bloodline children, adopted children and children born by IVF are included in the term. When drafting a Will, it is possible to include provision for children that may be born later on, or even those born after your death. When it comes to step-children, however, in order to ensure that they will benefit from your estate you will need to state ‘my children and step-children’ or else name your step-children individually.
As a matter of priority you should make an appointment to see a Solicitor and get your Will updated so that you can be sure it reflects exactly what you want to happen to your estate after you die.