Do Children of Divorced Parents Have Rights to Inherit Real Estate?

By Teo Spengler

Divorced parents can stay close to their kids, even if the other spouse has custody, but it doesn't always happen. A divorced parent who moves away or starts a new family may lose contact with the children from his prior marriage, and may even cut them out of his will. Only a few states give minor children the right to inherit a parent's real estate.

Inheritance Laws

Generally, an adult can leave his property to anyone he wishes, in a will. If a will is executed appropriately under state law and its terms are clear, probate courts must enforce it. Even minor children for whom the parent pays child support usually have no right to estate assets, if the parent does not provide for it in his will.

Accidental Disinheritance

Many state laws protect children from accidental disinheritance. This comes into play when a parent makes a will that leaves property to the children he had when he wrote the will. If he has children after the will is executed and never revises it, the law presumes that the disinheritance of later-born children was accidental.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Homestead Exemption

Some states, like Florida, have laws that give minor children the right to inherit homestead property that belongs to a parent. Under the Florida constitution, if the parent writes a will leaving the homestead property to another person, the devise fails and intestate laws apply, giving the surviving spouse a life-estate and the minor children the remainder.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
An Heir's Rights to the Property of Divorced Parents


Related articles

Does the Child Inherit the Parent's Property?

Whether a child inherits her parent’s property depends on several factors including whether the decedent was truly the child’s legal parent and if there is or isn’t a will involved. The laws regarding the distribution of a decedent’s property vary by state. It is always a good idea to consult a local attorney when investigating inheritance rights.

How Does Real Estate Pass Through Intestacy?

When someone dies but fails to leave a will, laws of intestate succession for the state where the real estate is located determine who inherits the property. Intestate succession laws are established based on family structure, so whether the decedent leaves a surviving spouse, living parents, children, no children, siblings or no direct descendants at all determines who inherits real estate owned at the time of death.

The Rights of Children of a Deceased Person

Generally, a deceased parent has no obligation to leave property to her children. In fact, nearly every state allows a parent to completely disown her children in a will. If a parent did not leave a will, however, children may have rights to property as dictated by state law. Additionally, children are considered "interested persons," meaning they have a right to contest a parent's will if they have valid grounds.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Laws About Inheritance at a Father's Death in Georgia

Title 53 of the Georgia Code governs the administration of wills, estates and trusts. This code also covers the laws of ...

The Definition of an Heir in California Probate

In California, the term "heir" is defined in the state's probate code. Heirs are people who are entitled to inherit a ...

Laws Governing Estate Inheritance for Children in Louisiana

The rights of children to inherit their parents' estates are governed by Louisiana's Civil Code. The state's Civil Code ...

The Inheritance Hierarchy Without a Will in New York State

A person who dies without leaving a will is said to have died “intestate.” New York courts distribute intestate ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED