The Importance of Paternity in Intestacy Cases
The intestacy laws of Florida are complex and should be discussed with an estate planning attorney. Individuals who choose to read this post are reminded that it is only offered as information and that it contains no legal advice. Specific legal questions should not be answered with the comments offered herein.
Intestacy refers to the process through which a person's end-of-life estate will pass if they do not have a formal will or other plan in place. Generally, estates pass to close relatives of the decedent, such as their spouse or children. Matters can complicate if the decedent has children from prior marriages or relationships.
For example, if a decedent fathered a child and never married the mother it may be difficult for the child to inherit from their father. The father would have had to acknowledge the child as his own in order for the child to be considered one of his heirs. Additionally, paternity may be established through adjudication before the decedent passes away or after; this may be done through testing to determine a biological connection between the decedent and their alleged descendent.
Children generally do not encounter these challenges with regard to their mothers as maternity is more easily established. The biological child of a parent can, if proven to be so, inherit from their parent even if that parent never raised them or acknowledged them as their own. It can be useful for individuals encountering this difficult legal situation to seek the counsel of estate planning lawyers to ensure that their rights are protected and that they are endeavoring to establish paternity in a legally recognized manner.
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On behalf of J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC, which has been acquired by Rignanese & Associates, PLLC.