The preparation and execution of a Last Will and Testament is always an important part of estate planning. A Will allows a testator to specifically provide for the disposition of assets to the individuals he wants to benefit. A testator’s intentions can be clearly set forth. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has discussed the benefits and specifics regarding planning an estate in many prior posts.
It is particularly essential to create a Will when a decedent is survived by a non-marital child or children. When a person dies intestate or without a Will his estate is inherited by his distributees (next of kin). In a situation when there are children born outside of the marriage, the issue of kinship can get complicated. Estates, Powers and Trusts Law section 4-1.2 entitled “Inheritance by non-marital children”, sets forth the rules to be followed in these cases. The statute provides that a child born out of wedlock is the mother’s legitimate child, so that he and his offspring can inherit from her.
However, with regard to non-martial children of a father, such children can only inherit if they prove their kinship in a number of alternative ways. One way is if there has been a determination of paternity. Another possible form of proof is by a blood genetic marker test. Also, paternity may be shown by clear and convincing evidence that the father openly and notoriously acknowledged that the child was his.