Probate Lawyers in Las Vegas Explain a Birth Father’s Inheritance Rights
Much has been written on the topic of children inheriting from their parents. Probate lawyers in Las Vegas frequently blog on that topic. What happens when the tables sadly turn though, and the parent loses a child? How does inheritance flow from a child to their birth father? In today’s blog, we’ll consider that topic and the process of ensuring a quick closure of probate, if needed.
Do Parents Inherit From Their Children?
Inheritance does work both ways. A child can inherit from their parent and a parent from a child. In fact, when a minor child passes away, their parents, father and mother, are typically the only claimants.
Inheriting From a Minor Child
According to the University of North Carolina School of Government, if a minor child dies intestate (without a will), their living parents inherit their estate. However, if the parent had abandoned the child or given up custodial rights, they do not have a succession right.
Two exceptions to this bar exist in case law. First, if the parent abandoned the child but resumed care of the child for at least one calendar year before death, the birth father can petition for a claim to the probate. Second, if the courts had ordered the child taken from the parent and at the time of the child’s death the parent was meeting the stipulations of the court order, the father can file a claim to their child’s estate.
Inheriting From an Adult Child
Typically, an adult’s estate passes onto their spouse, but when an unmarried adult without lineal descendants dies, their living parents can make claim to the estate. If the parents already passed away, the estate goes to any siblings.
The same abandonment case law applies. If the parent abandoned the child before they reached the age of 18, they cannot claim inheritance. The same exceptions apply, as well.
If the father and adult child experienced an estrangement in adulthood, after the adult child reached the age of 18, the birth father does still have a right to make an inheritance claim. Abandonment only applies as a bar when it occurred during the minor years.
Resumption of care also only applies during minor years. The courts have held that when a parent resumed financial support for their child at the age of 19, it did not meet the burden of resumption of support because the individual had passed into adulthood.
These laws prohibit a parent from neglecting their offspring, then reaping a reward from their death. US law also explicitly prohibits a parent who killed their child from inheriting from that child.
A Birth Father’s Rights in Matters of Adoption
Once the birth parents sign a waiver of parental rights and a child undergoes adoption by another parent or parents, the birth parents lose all rights to the child. This includes the birth father’s right of inheritance. The courts view the adoptive parents as the birth parents from the moment of adoption, thus only the adoptive parents have a right to the child’s inheritance.
There may exist an exception when the birth father did not give up his custodial rights when he did not know of his fatherhood or was incapacitated and unable to care for the child or claim them as his own. Another area of contention exists when the child was kidnapped, then put up for adoption without the birth parents’ knowledge. These murky areas rarely occur and each situation requires a knowledgeable, experienced probate attorney.
Avoiding Issues of Inheritance
Turn to a probate lawyer Las Vegas trusts to solve this problem. Dying intestate creates questions about an individual’s estate, but creating a simple will solves that problem and answers all questions.
Although it may seem macabre to help a child draw up a will, every person should have one. Including children in the estate planning process teaches them good financial planning at a young age. Visiting an estate planning attorney in Las Vegas with your child falls into the same category of teaching moments as taking your child to open their first savings account.
Having a will negates the probate process. The will states who inherits and how much. A probate attorney in Las Vegas can help you set up a will for each child in your family although children cannot sign legal documents until they reach the age of contract, 18 years old. Although handling the matter becomes slightly complex, even a child can have a will. At this time, you could also address issues of guardianship with Las Vegas attorneys in your own will, so your child understands what would happen if something happened to either of you.
Hiring Probate Lawyers in Las Vegas
Turn to the probate lawyers in Las Vegas who residents trust with their most complex issues. Contact Sean Tanko Law for assistance with probate matters and to draw up a comprehensive will for each member of your family. Although an awful thought, children do die. Protect your family from a long, drawn-out probate process by ensuring that each family member has a valid will in place, so you can avoid probate. Contact Sean Tanko Law today to get started on family estate planning, so even your child has a will to avoid questions of parental rights to inheritance.