No. A person may love their stepchildren and raise them as their own children. However, Louisiana law does not account for personal feelings or relationships. Instead, the law only considers legal relationships, and unadopted stepchildren are not considered legal heirs in Louisiana.
What Happens If a Stepparent Dies Without a Will?
State law decides what happens to a person’s property if they die intestate or without a will. Children will inherit the person’s separate property and community property, subject to a spouse’s lifetime interest in the community property. For purposes of intestate succession, children are defined as:
- Children born during a marriage or within 300 days after a marriage
- Children born outside of a marriage, if paternity is established
- Adopted children
- Children placed for adoption
- Grandchildren, if the decedent’s child predeceases them and has living children
Whether the decedent has a loving or strained relationship with the stepchildren is irrelevant in determining whether a stepchild can inherit from a stepparent in an intestate succession. Stepchildren do not have any inheritance rights unless the stepparent adopted them.
Can a Stepparent Include a Stepchild in a Will?
Yes. Stepparents may leave property to their stepchildren in their will. Louisiana laws generally accept a last will and testament as long as it:
- Is made without undue influence or coercion
- Is properly executed
- Did not exclude forced heirs
Additionally, stepparents may provide for stepchildren through trusts, life insurance policies, or lifetime gifts.
Heirs and beneficiaries deserve fair treatment during a Louisiana succession. Our New Orleans succession lawyers help hundreds of families throughout Louisiana each year. We would be happy to review your loved one’s succession and provide you with an honest and trustworthy assessment. Please call us, or complete our contact form today.