Stephanie’s Quarterly Planning Tip
Welcome to our new column where we share a planning tip to help you and your family.
A new client retained our services to probate her Father’s estate. We asked the daughter to identify the children of her father – both those born to the family as well as adopted. Sheepishly she told us that her Father had been involved with a woman and conceived a child born out-of-wedlock. The Father’s name was not listed on the child’s birth record. Her Father never married the child’s mother. Years later her Father married her mother and invited the child who was born out-of-wedlock into his home and verbally acknowledged that he was the Father.
The Father died without a Last Will & Testament. Florida law provides that children inherit equally. However, this does not apply to a child born out-of-wedlock.
A child born out-of-wedlock only inherits from the father if one of the following steps is taken while the parent is alive:
- The natural parents participate in a marriage ceremony before or after the child’s birth;
- The father’s paternity is established by a court before or after his death;
- The father acknowledges his paternity in writing.
If you or, someone you know is in this position and you want the child to inherit from you when you pass we recommend that you acknowledge your paternity in writing and keep the writing in a safe place and notify a trusted person of the document. Otherwise, your child may very well not inherit anything and that would be an unfortunate memory to leave behind.
Please make an appointment to consult with Stephanie about making or, revising your Last Will & Testament or trust agreement to acknowledge children born out-of-wedlock.