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Pretermitted children and entitlement to an estate

Previously, we began looking at the topic of children born after the execution of a will and state law regarding their entitlement to a portion of the deceased parent’s estate. As we noted, such children are entitled to the portion of the state they would have taken if there had been no will, provided certain conditions are met.  

In addition to the two conditions previously mentioned, a third condition is that, in cases where the testator knew the child at the time of death, the testator must not have left substantially all of the estate to the other parent of the child. If the other parent survives and is entitled to take under the will, the child does not have a legal right to a share of the estate, though typically the fact that the parent is able to take under the will would help address the financial needs of the child. 

Because the law makes pretermitted children entitled a portion of the estate under certain conditions, it is important for parents who intend to take the necessary steps to implement their wishes with regard to these children. This may mean providing the child with an advance on their inheritance. It may mean providing a different amount for the child in estate documents. Whatever the case may be, the parent should take the initiative to make his or her wishes clear.

An experienced attorney is an invaluable asset when it comes to developing and implementing an appropriate estate planning strategy. 

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