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Inheritance Rights for Children and Spouses

Inheritance Rights for Children and Spouses

Advocating for Heirs, Spouses and Children

Inheritance rights encompass every imaginable sphere of family relationships.If you as a spouse or a child of a decedent are concerned about your Inheritance Rights you need to have a will content attorney carefully review the documents. Prior to any litigation being instituted to contest a Will or a Trust, by a beneficiary or disinherited heir who feels that he or she is entitled to more of an inheritance than the document indicates, a careful analysis has to be made as to whether or not there is a “no contest” clause in the document. “No contest” clauses are often are placed in Will and Trust documents and provide that if any litigation is commenced to contest any provision in the estate planning document that that person “contesting” will be legally disinherited. This is a gray area as to whether or not a contest action undertaken by a beneficiary may or may not constitute a contest under a Will or Trust so as to trigger the “no contest” clause.

Inheritance Rights – Spouse’s and Children’s Right to Inherit

Heir’s Inheritance Rights

Heir’s Inheritance Rights – Inheritance rights encompass every imaginable sphere of family relationships. In any given situation, a spouse, child, family member, or friend, may feel that they have a right to a portion of the decedent’s estate. The probate court will follow statutory guidelines for determining the inheritance rights of any party contesting a Will or Trust matter.

Ex Spouses

The act of divorcing automatically negates any gifts or inheritances left to a spouse in a Will.

Children’s Inheritance Rights

Generally speaking, children are not entitled to inherit anything of their parent’s estate. If both parents die, children may be entitled to claim a share of their parents’ property. Most states have laws that protect against children being accidentally disinherited. In the case where a later born child is not listed along his or her siblings, the Probate Courts will generally rule the new child/ren’s parents never had the chance to revise the Will to include the new child/ren and they will be entitled to inherit along with their siblings in equal shares.

Adoptive Children’s Inheritance Rights

Fortunately, all 50-states have intestacy laws that provide for how adoptive children will be treated in intestate (no Will) situations. This means that the adoptive children will have rights of inheritance through both their biological parents, if known, and through their adoptive parents as well until such time as the adoption is legal. When the adoption is legal, that ends their relationship, legally, with their biological parents. Biological connections may last after a completed adoption keeping the biological parents responsible if there is language so stating in the adoption papers.

Contesting Wills and Trusts as to Inheritance Rights

There are many potentially valid scenarios in which a dispute concerning inheritance rights in an estate can arise. These are called Will Contests and are decided informally or via litigation in Probate Court.

When a decedent dies with a Will or Trust, these documents are subject to contest and could be declared by the court to be invalid if at the time of execution of the documents, if the decedent is determined to not have possessed “proper mental capacity” by way of illness, mental dementia, being on powerful medication, or under pressure of “undue influence” at the time of signing the document. Undue influence comes into play if it can be proved that one of the beneficiaries of the Will or the Trust took advantage of the decedent’s infirmity or mental weakness, and by reason of this the influential-beneficiary named in the Will or Trust document is someone who will inherit the entire estate. Other valid “contest reasons” might be duress or mistake.

Other common probate rulings for a descendant’s Children and Spouses

Child born out of wedlock – If a child was born out of wedlock sometimes that child is entitled to inherit. Simple proof of biological lineage will be necessary.

Surviving spouse possibilities – A surviving spouse, whether or not a beneficiary or heir to the decedent’s estate, is often entitled to certain benefits from the estate, such as the right to live in the decedent’s home, whether or not the surviving spouse legally inherits it. A surviving spouse might also have a right to financial support during probate proceedings for a specified period of time. In such cases, court proceedings will be necessary to plead the case of the ex spouse for a court’s beneficial ruling.

Securing legal help to fight for Inheritance Rights

Contesting Wills and Trusts for Heirs Rights

Our lawyers can assist those disinherited, or cut out of an expected inheritance by contesting Wills and Trusts for Heirs rights. The heir to the estate who is considering hiring an attorney to assert or protect his or her inheritance rights can either pay an attorney’s hourly rate, or alternatively, request the attorney to take the case on a contingency fee arrangement. The benefit of the contingency fee arrangement is that the attorney would only receive a fee if he or she recovered estate assets for the benefit of the client. If the attorney were to be unsuccessful, the client would not have to pay any attorney’s fees.

Vincent W. Davis & Associates are seasoned inheritance lawyers dedicated to the vigilant protection of our clients’ rights. If you are considering an inheritance rights matter, Mr. Davis would be pleased to meet with you and advise you as to what to expect and how we may serve you.

Protecting your estate – If you are looking toward the future and you are concerned that you’re documents are not in order, or non-existent and you want to make certain that your own estate will not be vulnerable to contests and unnecessary litigation, we can assist you in the preparation of your Will and/or Trust so that legal pitfalls may be avoided and distribution of your assets will happen as you specify.

Set Up a Day, Evening or Weekend Appointment Now

At Vincent W. Davis & Associates, we are able assist heirs asserting their inheritance rights, prepare wills, trusts and other estate instruments depending on an individual needs and goals. For assistance, please contact The Law Offices of Vincent W. Davis & Associates in Southern California for a complimentary consultation with Mr. Davis personally. Consultations are available in Los Angeles, Orange County, Inland Empire including Riverside or San Bernardino Counties. We also handle California Probate and Estate matters for out of state individuals.

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Arcadia, CA 91006
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Irvine, California, 92614
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San Diego, California, 92101
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