We are a Veteran Owned Business, providing 20% discounts for Veterans, First Responders, Elementary and High School teachers. Please contact us to set up a phone or Zoom meeting. Taking care of you and your family, It's What We Do!
From Our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: “I recently provided information to a genealogy website. If this website were to identify an unknown child of mine, would this child inherit from me and take away from my other children’s inheritance? How can I protect my family from the possibility of a claim from an illegitimate child in PA?”
Paige Zirrith, Estate Planning Attorney
What is an Illegitimate Child in PA?
Determining who will inherit from a person’s estate at their passing can be a straightforward question or challenging. We live in an age of online genealogy and DNA websites. People now connect to previously unknown family members. Under intestacy laws, a person’s children inherit part or all of their estate. There is no legal requirement for you to be aware of the child. If a DNA test proves a child is yours, they are included in the intestate estate. So yes, in this new age of connectedness, there may be a claim for inheritance from someone the decedent did not know during their lifetime.
Can an Illegitimate Child in PA Inherit from my Estate?
In Pennsylvania, children born outside their parents’ marriage are entitled to the same rights and privileges as children born within their parents’ marriage unless an exception applies. A child born outside of their parents’ marriage may prove they are the child of their father in several ways. Once this is established, that child would be entitled to the same inheritance under intestacy as the parents’ other children.
How Can I Protect my Family from the Possibility of an Illegitimate Child in PA Claiming an Inheritance?
One way to address this concern is to meet with Klenk Law, LLC’s estate planning attorneys. Ensuring that your estate passes by the terms of your estate plan rather than intestacy protects your family from unwanted outcomes. In your free phone consultation, specific areas of concern should be addressed with your lawyer to ensure that your estate plan reflects your family’s unique situation. Drafting a Revocable Trust or Last Will and Testament could protect your family from a claim from an unknown illegitimate child after your death.
Regardless of the complexity of your case, Klenk Law, LLC’s estate planning attorneys will promptly and effectively pursue your estate planning goals to protect your family in the future.
How Can Klenk Law Help Protect My Family from a Claim of an Illegitimate Child in PA?
Once we establish your estate planning goals, our lawyers help select the appropriate documents. Further, we will craft terms within those documents for your family status. Your estate planning document could be used to protect your family by limiting the meaning of your descendants. The terms of the document could expressly address the possibility by defining your descendants. For example, we can limit it to mean descendants of yourself and your Spouse together. We often craft specific provisions for clients to address these personal estate planning goals.
In Conclusion: What Happens if an Illegitimate Child in PA Comes Forward After My Death?
We hope you found this short article about issues raised by an Illegitimate Child in PA helpful. Contact us if you want to know more or need our help with a claim from an illegitimate child. Let our estate planning lawyers help you walk you through what can be a confusing process. Feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.
Peter Klenk is the founding member of Klenk Law, a seven attorney boutique estate planning law firm. We serve clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota and Florida. Peter Klenk received his Masters in Taxation LL.M. from NYU Law School and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. He served his country in the Navy JAGC during Desert Storm. Easy to talk to, feel free to call Peter for an appointment. We will make the process as easy as possible!
"I worked for Peter Klenk for 4 wonderful years. I can’t speak highly enough of everyone at the firm. Everyone truly cares about their clients and has a strong sense of responsibility to get things done right. I would highly recommend Klenk Law!" Flora Novick
Philadelphia PA, Allentown PA, King of Prussia PA, Montgomery County PA, Bucks County PA, Doylestown PA, Jenkintown PA, Marlton NJ, Moorestown NJ
What Our clients are saying
Mr. Klenk has been easy to work with. I am confident he has given me good advice whenever I have called upon him. He has shown good work ethic and depth of knowledge in preparation of estate, wills, and trusts that I have worked with him on.
I'm totally satisfied with Klenk Law. Peter has a great legal mind with the personality of the guy next door.
Answered my question quickly and referred me to a colleague that could handle my problem
You & your staff are the best thank you for everything.
Peter Klenk made a complex subject understandable and allowed us to move forward with our estate planning. He was patient with our questions and creative in the solutions he proposed.