Am I entitled to any benefits from a deceased father that I never knew?

UPDATED: Jan 7, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Jan 7, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Am I entitled to any benefits from a deceased father that I never knew?

I am 29 years old and my mother recently told me that my father was a detention officer murdered by an inmate in 2009. She stated that he told her that he didn’t want to have anything to do with me. I have heard that he had a wife and daughter that may have received a large settlement from the sheriff’s department. Am I entitled to any of these benefits?

Asked on January 7, 2011 under Estate Planning, Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

First of all I will assume the you can prove paternity (i.e. that this man was in fact your biological father).  That being the case, if he died with a Will you may or may not have inheritance rights to his estate.  A child can be disinherited.  However, some states require specific language to that effect; merely not mentioning the child may not enough. If he died without a Will (i.e. "intestate"), then the intestacy laws of the state where he was domiciled as of the date of his death will prevail.  The general rule is that a surviving spouse receives 1/3 - 1/2 of the estate, and the children of the deceased share in the remaining 2/3 - 1/2.

So the answer to your question is  - maybe.  Right now you should consult directly with a probate attorney in the area where your father died.  They can best advise as to your rights under applicable law.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption