Stepchildren Defined for New Jersey Estate Planning

Definitions in the laws of New Jersey determine who is considered a “child” and who is not.  There are circumstances where someone may take a child in as his own, provide for all his emotional, physical and financial needs, but that child may not be considered the child of the decedent according to the laws of the state unless the care provider takes the step of legal adoption.

For purposes of intestate succession (determines who receives property/assets when a person dies without a will) a stepchild is not considered a child with the same rights and privileges as a natural born or adopted child.  The language in the New Jersey statute states:

3B:1-1  Definitions

“Child” means any individual, including a natural or adopted child, entitled to take by intestate succession from the parent whose relationship is involved and excludes any individual who is only a stepchild, a resource family child, a grandchild or any more remote descendant.

One important way to make sure your loved ones receive property from your estate is to execute a valid will and name the individuals you want to protect.

Getting Legal Help

Experienced New Jersey Estate Planning Attorney Elga Goodman can help you understand all your options for asset preservation and making the most of your estate assets to plan for the future and provide for your loved ones. Call us today at 973-841-5111 to learn more.

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