Estate Planning Law

Can my long-lost child inherit my estate?

You’ve probably heard stories about situations where a long-lost child seemingly comes out of nowhere and inherits their parent’s estate. But can this type of thing really happen? Today, we look into this very claim to see whether there’s any validity to it.

At Doane & Doane, we are dedicated to preparing you for the future. The more you know about how estate planning works, the better you can take steps to ensure that your assets are safely secured. If you would like assistance with your estate planning, we encourage you to get in touch with us. But first, let’s look further into whether a long-lost child can inherit your estate.

The Claim

To understand this concern, we first need to establish the claim and what it means. Assuming you are well into your adult years, let’s say you find out that you fathered a child in your younger years, who is also an adult now. For whatever reason, things aren’t working out between the two of you. 

After careful consideration, you decide that it’s best not to pursue a relationship. In this scenario, you have a girlfriend (who isn’t the mother of the estranged child), and you have no other children. You want your girlfriend to receive your assets when you die, but can your long-lost child inherit your estate instead?

In the state of Florida, yes. However, this would only be the case if you don’t have a will. Because without a will, intestate laws (laws governing a decedent’s assets when there’s no will) step in and govern your estate. In this case, your estate would go to your next of kin — your long-lost child. 

Therefore, it is advisable that you establish a will to plan for such occurrences. With estate planning in place, you can be sure that your assets go to whomever you wish. It’s worth noting that you don’t have to bar your child from getting anything.

If you desire, you can add them to your will in any capacity you like. But you must have a will in place to ensure that your wishes are met after you pass away. It must also be stated that if you were to marry your girlfriend, she wouldn’t have to worry about getting stuck with huge estate taxes when she inherits your assets. At that point, she will legally be your wife, and the acquisition of your estate will be much easier to inherit.

When you hire a qualified estate planning attorney, you can be sure that you follow the proper channels. Your lawyer will assist you in making sure your will is correct and accurate and that your assets go where you want them to go after you pass.

What Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning focuses on where your assets go after you die — who controls your will and trust when you pass away, who inherits your assets, and other related matters. Your estate planning attorney will help you be as detailed as possible when writing your will and preparing for the future.

Your lawyer will also help you choose the most suitable beneficiaries and detail essential instructions to ensure that your wishes are met. This in itself is often difficult to decide, which is why you should have a qualified attorney in your corner. At Doane & Doane, we have years of experience helping our clients with these matters. So when it comes time to plan for what happens to your estate, you can trust that our legal experts will guide you in the right direction.

We help you make tough decisions that have your best interests in mind, as well as those of your loved ones. We know how challenging this can be. But at Doane & Doane, we strive to make it as easy as possible. Our Stuart clients count on us to secure their estates after they pass away.

Therefore, we encourage you to start your estate planning right away. You will have the peace of mind that your assets are protected in the event that you die. And they will go to the loved ones of your choosing. We work closely with you to make sure your wishes are respected, so don’t delay in calling us to schedule a consultation to start your estate planning.

Doane & Doane Is Stuart’s Trusted Source for Estate Planning 

Doane & Doane was founded in 2003 remains one of the most trusted and respected estate planning firms in Southeast Florida. If you need assistance establishing an estate plan, protecting your assets, or any other related issues, please contact us at 561-656-0200. Alternatively, you can always fill out our online contact form, and we will promptly respond to your inquiry.

The information in this blog post is for reference only and not legal advice. As such, you should not decide whether to contact a lawyer based on the information in this blog post. Moreover, there is no lawyer-client relationship resulting from this blog post, nor should any such relationship be implied. If you need legal counsel, please consult a lawyer licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.