Would I be able to be awarded part of my biological fathers estate upon his death

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Would I be able to be awarded part of my biological fathers estate upon his death

My biological father and my mother had an affair many years ago which resulted in me being born. My father is now in his late 80’s and we have never had any contact even though I have tried to contact him he has never responded. He does have three other children from his deceased wife. When he passes away what are my legal rights to his estate? We live in NY state in Erie County.

Asked on March 24, 2017 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

This is a tough question to give guidance upon because there are so many variables that can come in to play.  First, did your Father ever acknowledge paternity or was there ever a paternity test?  Did your Mother get child support?  You would have to establish - legally - that he is your Father.  Next, if he died without a Will and paternity has been established then you would take a portion of his estate under the intestacy laws in New York.  If, however, he has a Will then things can get even more complicated.  In New York you can disinherit children under the Will so he can put in language indicating that you get nothing.  Or he can give you a specific bequest.  If he gives you a specific bequest then he can limit it to a certain amount or a specific belonging.  If it is less than you think that you should be getting you can file a Will contest action but beware that there may be a No Contest Clause in the Will which basically says if you contest the Will you get nothing.  You need to keep on top of what goes on with him.  Wills are public record once filed so you will always be able to check on things and you should really get notice of any proceeding regarding him as a child anyway.  Good luck.


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