Inheritence for a child born out of wedlock

UPDATED: Aug 9, 2017

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Inheritence for a child born out of wedlock

My son’s girlfriend recently had a child, that is not my son’s biological child. The child has our last name and my son may be listed on the birth certificate as the father. My Will right now states my sons and their children will inherit when I die. Does this include the girlfriend’s child? What if my son is not listed on the birth certificate?

Asked on August 9, 2017 under Estate Planning, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Born out of wedlock is irrelevant: the issue is, is the child legally your son's child? If he is not biologically your son's child, then the issue narrows to whether your son has legally accepted being the child's parent or father. If your son is listed on the birth certificate, then unless your son himself chooses to and successfully challenges that (i.e. with a court proceeding, supported by DNA testing), the law presumes he is the father, and he will legally be treated as such.
Or even if he is not on the birth certificate, if he formally adopts the child at some point, he will be the father.
So when someone is biologically the father, is on the birth certificate, or adopts, that is their child, with the obvious consequences for inheritance. Again, being born out of wedlock, however, is irrelevant for this purpose.

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