What are a child’s inheritance rights?

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What are a child’s inheritance rights?

I am married and living with my husband in NJ. He has a daughter, 15 years old, from his ex-girlfriend. Is she entitled to my husband’s part of the house?

Asked on December 13, 2010 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your husband has a Will then his daughter would be entitled to whatever is left to her in it.  This assumes that such a bequest would not otherwise interfere with existing ownership rights.  For example, if he left her part of the house but you both own it as in joint tenants.  In such a case, the joint tenancy would prevail.  In other words, you would take over 100% ownership as of the date of your husband's death.  If he dies without a Will (i.e. "intestate"), then state intestacy law will control.  Typically, a child shares with the deceased parent's surviving spouse.  Again, however, this is subject to existing ownership rights.

At this point, you really should consult directly with an estate planning attorney as to what your rights are and how best to protect them.


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