Are illegitimate children entitled to my parents' real estate? 38 Answers as of June 13, 2013

My dad is on his death bed and we just found out he fathered an illegitimate child. I'm not surprised this comes up now as this other kid probably wants to get some money out of my dad. Does he have rights? What can we do?

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Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski
Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski | Gerald A. Bagazinski
If your father died without a will or trust, then the property goes to the devisees or beneficiaries. If he died intestate, then the child is his heir.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/4/2012
CARL C SILVER ATTORNEY AT LAW
CARL C SILVER ATTORNEY AT LAW | Carl C Silver
It would depend on whether or not there is a Paternity Judgment.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/2/2012
Elder Law Office of Mark Schaefer PC | Mark Schaefer
Yes, he is entitled to a part of your father's estate if your father does not have a will. However, he will have to prove your father is also his father by documents or by DNA test.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 11/1/2012
Winnick Ruben Hoffnung Peabody & Mendel, LLC | Daniel N. Hoffnung
If Dad admitted to being the father, the newly discovered sibling probably has rights.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 11/1/2012
LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT I LONG
LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT I LONG | Robert I. Long
In CA , a child is entitled to claim his intestate share unless he is expressly disinherited in a will. Of course, he has to prove paternity, and that's a who le different matter.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/1/2012
    Richard M. Gee, a PC
    Richard M. Gee, a PC | Richard M. Gee
    Yes, illegitimate children are entitled to a share in your father's estate, unless he has specifically disinherited them in a valid will.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/1/2012
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks | Terrell Monks
    Children of the decedent will probably inherit without regard to whether their parents were married. Children, again without regard to marriage, may be excluded from receiving under your Will, so long as we can see from the face of the document that the exclusion was intentional.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 11/1/2012
    Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston | Edwin Fee
    The illegitimate child will be treated the same as a legitimate child for inheritance purposes if your father acknowledges in writing that he is the father or openly recognizes the child to be his.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/1/2012
    Martinson & Beason, PC
    Martinson & Beason, PC | Douglas C Martinson II
    If your father doesn't have a will, they would be entitled to a share of the estate since they are a child. That is why it is important to have a will big he is still competent and doesn't want the illegitimate child to get a share he should execute a will.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 11/1/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    Does your father have a Will? If not, all children will be treated equally. If he does have a current Will, then the terms of his Will will control the distribution. It is important to have current legal documents.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/1/2012
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    Yes, this can happen. Your father can provide a Will that names the beneficiaries. It is one of the many reasons to do an estate plan. It is not clear from your summary whether this is still possible or not. If your father does not have capacity to sign a Will, then you are stuck with the intestate code. That means that all children would get an equal share of the estate. "Legitimate" or no, all children are entitled to a share under State law.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/1/2012
    Stone|Novasky, LLC
    Stone|Novasky, LLC | Robert Novasky
    Under Washington law, biological children have certain inheritance rights even if they are illegitimate. The Washington statutes governing estates spell out the inheritance rights of family members and should be reviewed to determine the extent of your father's illegitimate child.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/1/2012
    Roman Aminov
    Roman Aminov | Roman Aminov
    I am sorry to hear about your situation. The child is referred to as a non-marital child and will be entitled to your father's probate estate unless he has a validly executed will which excludes the child (assuming the child was born before the execution of the will). It is best to consult with an attorney regarding the particular facts of your situation. Many estate attorneys, including myself, offer a free initial consultation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    If your father has a will when he passes away and he makes provisions for that child in the will, the courts will require that the will is followed. If there is no will, according to Florida Statutes the illegitimate child is entitled to a share of your father's estate as well as the other children.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/1/2012
    Timiney Law Firm
    Timiney Law Firm | Leigh Anne Timiney
    This depends upon whether your father has an estate plan in place. If your father has created an estate plan, meaning a will or trust, his estate will pass in accordance with the provisions he has made in his will or trust. If your father does not have an estate plan in place when he passes, he will die "intestate" meaning he has no estate plan. When a person dies without an estate plan, the state in which the person passes then decides what happens with that person's property. Most states follow a rule where the estate passes to the surviving spouse, and if no spouse, then any surviving children. In this instance, your half sibling could be entitled to a portion of your father's estate. At this point, there is not much you can do to control this. I would suggest you consult with an estate planning attorney in your state and seek a consultation regarding your father's estate.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/1/2012
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq.
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq. | Neil J. Lehto
    Yes, if the illegitimate child can prove that he was the father, i.e., a birth certificate, paternity case or a written acknowledgement. Ask your father and if he is capable, he can make a will dealing appropriately with the claim before he dies.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/1/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    I would suggest you see an attorney, generally all of a persons children, legitimate or illegitimate, are legally their heirs. There are however exceptions. One of them would be if your father had given up all parental rights to this additional child who had then been adopted by another party.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/1/2012
    GOLD & ASSOCIATES, P.C.
    GOLD & ASSOCIATES, P.C. | KENNETH GOLD
    Yes. All children have rights. Your dad if able to can take away those rights by executing a will or titling assets in a way so that that child doesn't get anything.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    In Maryland, an illegitimate child remains a child within the definition from the Estates and Trusts Section of the Maryland Code, so an illegitimate child could have "rights" to property. If your father does not want the illegitimate child to inherit under the state intestacy (no will) rules, then he should draft his will accordingly to "disinherit" the illegitimate child.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Carmen B. Marquez, PC | Carmen B. Marquez
    Unless your father specifically disinherited them. they do have rights. You should seek legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Law Office of Edward M. Burgh, APC | Edward M. Burgh
    It depends on whether there was a will or not. If there was no will, are you an heir of the person who died Has a probate been started Check the Probate filing in the county we he/she lived?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Lisa L. Hogreve, LC | Lisa L. Hogreve
    You do not mention if your father has executed a last will and testament, so I will assume he did not. In Florida, if one dies without making a will, then the estate will be divided between his spouse if any, and his children, even those children born out of wedlock.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/30/2012
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If your father does not have a will, then I believe the illegitimate child is issue of your father. I have not researched this matter, but I'm going to say illegitimate child is entitled to a share of your father's estate if he has no will no distinction between real property and personal property, it's a share of the whole estate taken together. Illegitimate child might still argue for a share if your father has a will, but it's a tougher argument. Father may still be capable of making a will.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/30/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Yes, he has rights.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/13/2013
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    He may if your father has no will or trust. If the house is in both your father's and mother's names and your mother is alive, she should get the house.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/30/2012
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    Is there a will and if so does it have a statement in it about other children?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/13/2013
    Zahaby Law Offices
    Zahaby Law Offices | Jon A. Zahaby, Esq.
    If your Father has a Living Will or Trust and it does not include the other child then they are not entitled to inherit. Also, if your Father's property is in Tenants by the Entirety or Joint Tenancy with his wife or other family member the property will automatically go to the surviving tenant and not to anyone else. If none of the above applies, then you will need to take action to ensure your Father's wishes are carried forth such as a Will, Trust and/or Deed creation and signing. Otherwise, the property will be distributed by Intestate Succession and all of your siblings will have rights to the property.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 10/30/2012
    La Office of William H. Von Willer | William H. Von Willer
    If he was adjudicated as the father, I would suggest the illegitimate child is entitled to a share of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 10/30/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    If your dad has a Will, He is entitled to leave his estate to whomever he chooses. Paternity of an illegitimate child would then not be an issue. If, however, your dad dies without a Will, state statute Will dictate who is entitled to the estate balance after payment of debts, taxes and costs of administration. If the illegitimate child can prove paternity. That your father is his father, he is entitled to a child's share of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/30/2012
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    He does have rights - he would be considered a child of the half-blood. He will be treated the same as other children born of the same set of parents.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 10/30/2012
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    All children, legitimate or illegitimate, by birth or by adoption, are heirs of the parent and are entitled to a share of the estate unless the parent specifically excludes them in a valid written will.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/30/2012
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Yes, the out of marriage child has an equal claim to your father's estate. Does your father want to disinherit his child? What is your father's mental state right now? Also, does your father have a will or a trust? You should contact a local probate/estate planning attorney in your area to discuss this further.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/30/2012
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC | Darin Christensen
    If your father's will is sufficiently specific, the illegitimate child will not inherit through him. If not and if your father still has legal capacity, he could adopt a will that excludes the illegitimate child.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/30/2012
    WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
    Yes this child has rights. Best thing to do is reach out to this child and settle things out of court. If it goes to a fight in probate court the estate may have to pay attorney costs and fees which will leave less for the heirs.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/30/2012
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    If your father has a will that mentions this child, then he gets only what is left to him in the will, if anything. However, if he is not mentioned at all, then he gets what would b e his intestate share, i.e., the amount that he would get if your father had no will at all. If you father is not presently married, then his estate would be divided evenly among his children who survive him. (If any child has died before him, but is survived by issue (descendants), then his or her issue would divide that child's share. So, for example, if your father had three children, all of whom are still living, then each of you would get a third. But if your father's will says, "I have three children, A, B and C. I give all my estate equally to A and C," then B gets nothing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/31/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    The illegitimate child has rights by blood; in order for your father to terminate those rights, he needs to make a Will or a trust, and specifically state he does not leave any of his assets to this particular child.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/30/2012
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    That depends on whether he has a Will or a trust, if so whether he provided for that child or not in the Will or trust. If he has a Will or trust and provides for the child, then they are an heir as provided in the will or trust. If the Will or trust does not have any mention of this child, then you would need to determine whether they have a claim anyhow depending on the law in the state where he lives regarding excluded children. And if he does not have a Will or trust, what the law provides in the state where he lives regarding who inherits when there is no Will.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/30/2012
    Abom & Kutulakis, L.L.P,.
    Abom & Kutulakis, L.L.P,. | Jason P. Kutulakis
    In PA if there is no last Will, the probate statute will control intestacy.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 10/30/2012
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