State inheritance laws prioritize spouses, children and other blood relatives ahead of in-laws. However, how those individuals handle their share of an inherited estate can determine whether an in-law receives any assets.
Yahoo’s recent article, “Can I Leave Inheritance Money to In-Laws?” explains that state inheritance laws say who can be an estate heir. These individuals are typically directly related to the decedent by marriage, blood, or adoption. In order of priority, people who can inherit from someone under state law include spouses, children, siblings, parents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles and cousins.
However, an in-law may get some of an estate if they marry a direct heir.
You can leave assets to your in-laws if you want them to inherit from your estate. The easiest way to do this is to leave instructions in your will as to what assets they should inherit. You could also ask an experienced estate planning attorney about creating a trust to give assets to in-laws.
Some people may want to leave something to a son or daughter-in-law. However, others may seek to exclude them from inheriting altogether. To protect an inheritance from in-laws, you can create a trust that allows you to leave assets to family members. In addition, the trust can state that anyone not a blood relative can be excluded from receiving assets.
A prenuptial agreement for your child is another option. This might have terms that state how assets you pass on to your child should be handled during your lifetime and beyond. You could also raise the prospect of a postnuptial agreement after they’re married. The document would dictate what happens to their assets (and anything they’ve inherited from you) if they are divorced.
Every family situation is unique, and you might have questions about where in-laws fit into your estate plan. Ask an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss this with you.