Kansas Unborn Child Estate Rights

by Heather Frances J.D. Google

Usually, a child must be at least 18 to own or control property, but a child might inherit property when he is much younger, such as when a parent dies. In such cases, the child has legal rights to the inheritance but an adult will take care of the inheritance until the child is old enough to legally control it. Kansas law even allows an unborn child to inherit; the unborn child has rights to the estate and is entitled to representation in probate proceedings.

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There are two parts of your estate: probate and non-probate. Non-probate assets are assets -- such as life insurance and payable-on-death bank accounts -- that pass to named beneficiaries when you die. You may be able to name an unborn child as a beneficiary on certain non-probate assets if permitted by your bank or insurance company. Everything you own at the time of your death that does not pass directly to a beneficiary is considered a probate asset and will be distributed at the end of a probate process, either as directed in your will or as directed by Kansas law.


Kansas allows any adult of sound mind to make a will to distribute his estate after his death. There are few restrictions on who may inherit under a will, and it is possible for you to leave your estate to children not yet born. For example, your will may say that you are leaving part of your estate to all children you currently have and may have in the future, which would allow all of your children to inherit from you, whether born or unborn at the time of your death.

Automatic Revocation

Normally, a will can only be revoked or changed if the testator — the person who made the will — makes the change or revocation in writing, destroys the will with the intent to revoke it, or creates a new will. However, Kansas law automatically revokes the will if the testator marries and has a child after the will is written. Therefore, if you marry after you create your will and your wife is pregnant when you die, your estate will be distributed as if you didn’t have a will.

Intestate Succession

If you die without a valid will, Kansas law provides a method for the distribution of your estate, called intestate succession. For example, if you are survived by a spouse and child, your spouse will receive half of your estate and your child will receive the other half. Kansas considers a “child” to be a biological or adopted child and specifically includes a “posthumous child,” meaning a child born after the estate’s owner dies. So, if you die without a valid will and are survived by a pregnant wife, your wife will receive half of your estate and your unborn child will receive the other half once he is born.