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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 10 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.


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