How to Write a Will for an Unborn Child

By Heather Frances J.D.

You can use a will to accomplish many purposes, including naming guardians for your children, leaving specific bequests to your loved ones and nominating someone to manage your estate until it can be distributed. Though it is typically wise to update your will as your circumstances change, you can include provisions for your unborn children as well as living family members.

Writing Your Will

You can write a will to say almost anything, but it is important to be clear with your wording. If the people you leave behind don't understand what you meant, they can't use your will to properly distribute your property. They may have to rely on a judge to interpret your will if it is unclear. Thus, your will must clearly state that you intend to leave certain bequests to your unborn child. Wills often include gifts to categories of people, such as all of the writer's children, but this may not be clear enough. Instead, you may wish to include a statement that defines children as both your existing children and any children you may hereafter have.

Complying With State Law

State laws may vary in this area, and your state may require certain specific language to ensure your gift is distributed properly. Previously decided court cases in your state may help you or your attorney craft a will to meet your specific needs by looking at how courts have interpreted certain phrases and wording in the past. Wills also must be executed, or signed, in accordance with your state's laws. If you fail to meet your state's basic requirements, your entire will could be declared invalid by a probate court after your death.

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How to Update Wills
 

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Children's Rights in Estate Wills

Your state’s laws determine who inherits your assets if you don’t have a valid will when you die; your spouse and children are among the first to receive property from your estate. However, you can change this “default” distribution scheme by creating a will describing how you want your property to be distributed. Your will can give inheritance rights to your children, though you cannot disinherit your spouse under most circumstances, even if you want to give his share to your children.

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