Can I contest a will?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I contest a will?

I am 55 years old. I was born out of wedlock. My Birth certificate list the father as Unknown. I do know that he paid child support because my grandmother received a check from the family court either every week or month. I cant remember but I saw the check on a few occasions. I have never met my Father but I know who he is. He has never wanted anything to do with me. I have tried to contact him and meet him several times over the years to no avail. When he passes What will I need to do and do I have grounds to contest his will?

Asked on December 8, 2017 under Estate Planning, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Being someone's child does not by itself give you any grounds to contest or challenge a will: a child has no inherent right to inherit, and a parent may disinherit all children or one child, and/or may specify that their estate only goes to some identified children. Now, if the will says that his estate goes to his "children" without naming them by name, so it includes all children, you'd have grounds to get your share if you can prove paternity; you file an action in probate or surrogates court to establish that you are his child and entitled to a share of his estate. But if the will, by its terms, does not leave assets to his children generally but only to identified persons not including you, that is his right, and you would have no grounds to challenge it for not being included.

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.

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