What are my rights if my biological father recently passed and as I was growing up he paid support, although he never contacted me?

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What are my rights if my biological father recently passed and as I was growing up he paid support, although he never contacted me?

My biological father died almost 3 months ago. I found this out through an internet search. I did not know him personally but he paid support for me as a child yet never contacted me even as an adult. I don’t know anything about him but his sister wants to meet to share pictures and stories. Do I have any legal obligations regarding his estate? As far as I know from his obituary he was divorced and did not have any other children.

Asked on December 29, 2016 under Estate Planning, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You don't have legal "obligations" regarding his estate--the law cannot make someone, even a sole heir, administrate an estate, or inherit anything he or she does not want, and you certainly are not liable for any of his debts. You could walk away from the estate entirely if you want, and might only have to execute a letter to the court disclaiming any interest in it. On the other hand, if he was divorced and had no other children, you stand to inherit his estate as a biological child, so you may receive either or both of money or valuable assets (e.g. real estate) and/or items with personal value (e.g. perhaps photos, family records or medical history, etc.). It is worthwhile for you to meet with his sister and find out more about the situation--again, you can't be forced to be involved if you don't want to, but on the other hand, might find something of value.


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