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.

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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.

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New York's Children Inheritance Laws

References

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Inheritance Laws in Alaska

In Alaska, as in other states, when a decedent doesn't make a will, his property and assets must be divided according to the state's inheritance laws. These laws, known as "laws of intestate succession," provide guidelines as to the priority of heirs and what happens to property when there are no heirs.

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 inheritance for a child whose father has died. If your father had a valid will, you may inherit under the terms of the will, but the will must be taken through Georgia’s probate process first. Even if your father didn’t have a will, you may still inherit from him under Georgia law.

Illinois Estate Laws for Minor Children

When a parent dies, a key consideration is what will happen to his minor children. In Illinois, a minor child is anyone under the age of 18. Every parent wants to ensure their child is looked after by a responsible adult and financially secure in the event of their death. Illinois has established a clear set of standards regarding children of deceased parents that addresses both circumstances.

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