As a teenager a man had a relationship that resulted in a daughter but he did not find out until the daughter wrote to him with the news that her mother had identified him as the father while the mother was on her death bed.
This story appeared in an article entitled "Can my 40-year-old long-lost daughter get my estate?", recently featured in Market Watch with a question from a reader.
The man paid for DNA testing which confirmed that she was his only child.
Unfortunately, the father and daughter ultimately did not get along and ceased communication. The man lives with a partner who wishes to give him her house when she passes. However, this partner is reluctant to do so. It seems she does not want the daughter to inherit the house when the father passes away.
The man wonders how he can ensure that the daughter will not inherit the house.
The answer to the reader's question is very short and simple. He can have a will or living trust prepared to specifically exclude the daughter and any of her children.
Nevertheless, the article does not elaborate regarding why this needs to be done.
Accordingly, a more complete explanation would have noted what happens when a single person passes away without a will. In such circumstances, the laws of intestate succession apply. Consequently, the estate passes to any living children.
So, if you do not want a child to inherit your estate, you need a will or a living trust. However, that is not all that must be done.
The law assumes that if a child is not mentioned in a will, it was an oversight. The judge can reconstruct the will to include the child. For that reason the child must be mentioned in the will and specifically disinherited.
A meeting with an estate planning attorney can help you accomplish your goals.
Reference: Market Watch (Feb. 5, 2016) "Can my 40-year-old long-lost daughter get my estate?"
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