Does a child born of an affair have any inheritance rights?

UPDATED: Jan 8, 2011

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Does a child born of an affair have any inheritance rights?

My dad and mom were both married to other people when they had an affair. I was the result of that affair. Now that he has passed away, my half-siblings are not considering me as one of his children. He told me that he told all of my half-siblings about me and they were all fine with that. When he passed away they all now act as if they know nothing. What right do I have in this matter?

Asked on January 8, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You may possibly have rights.  First of all, I will assume that proving your paternity is not a problem.  However, as a general rule, children have no automatic right to inherit anything from their parents. If you father wrote a Will and your not in it, then your out. That having been said, some states require specific language regarding disinheriting a child; merely not mentioning the child may not be enough.  Additionally, most states do have laws to protect against accidental disinheritance; however, that's not the situation in your case.

The above applies if your father left a Will.  However, if he didn't, things might be a bit different.   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

 At this point, 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 state 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.

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