What are my rights f my biological father, whom I’ve never met, just sold his home for $2 million?

UPDATED: Nov 11, 2014

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What are my rights f my biological father, whom I’ve never met, just sold his home for $2 million?

The money was put in a Trust. He has never acknowledged me but his name is on my birth certificate. He is married with children. I’m not sure if he is deceased or not. Do I have any rights to sue for part of this Trust money? Will a lawyer do this pro bono?

Asked on November 11, 2014 under Estate Planning, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you were adopted by someone else or your biological father did not other have his parental rights severed or terminated, you would be entitled to inherit from him if he does not have a will (if he has a will, it will go to whomever he named in the will; he does not have to name or leave assets to all his children, if he chooses not to). This, of course, will only happen after he dies.

You have no more right to his money or assets while he is alive than any child does--no adult child, acknowledged or not, has the right to his/her parent's property or money while the parent is alive.

Furthermore, even after he passes, as stated, you would only inherit if named in a will or if there is no will; and furthermore, you would only inherit the the assets in the estate. Anything put into a irrevocable trust while your father is alive is not part of the estate and you would have no right to it unless you are one of the named beneficiaries of the trust.

Finally, while you might find a lawyer to take a case on contingency (for a share of anything they recover), you will not find an attorney will try to large sums of mney for you "pro bono," or for free--why, after all, should a lawyer work hard to get you money and then not be compensated for it?

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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