Trusted Southern Ohio Attorneys

What if a child was born or adopted after a will was executed?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | Estate Planning

When an estate plan is created in Ohio, it is often outdated very quickly. People who have a will might have a certain family situation, work at a specific job, own a limited amount of property and experience radical changes in the aftermath of executing the document.

In cases where the will was not updated before the testator died, this can create confusion. This is especially true if a child was born or adopted after executing the will. Knowing how state law addresses heirs who were born after the execution of the will or who were omitted is a key part of comprehensive estate planning.

What happens to an heir born after a will has been finalized

Children who were born or adopted after the completion of the parent’s will who have not been provided for in the will or via a settlement outside of the will can receive a share of the estate after the testator has died. The court will assess the case to determine if the heir was intentionally left out. The will is not revoked in these instances.

The child is still an heir. They can get a share of the estate equal to what they would have gotten if the testator had died intestate and did not have a surviving spouse. If the heir dies before the testator does, their children will get the share the parent would have gotten.

Another part of this law is if the child was “pretermitted” meaning omitted or abandoned. While it may sound unusual, the testator might not have known the child was alive. They will get a share of the estate or, if they have died, their children will get a share of the estate. This is based on the judgment of the probate judge in trying to find an equitable resolution. Children born more than 300 days after the testator’s death will not receive an inheritance based on this law unless the will specifically stipulates they should.

Complex estate planning issues warrant experienced advice

It is always wise to create an estate plan and people are advised to do so early in life. A challenge with that is that it will need to be periodically updated based on life changes. Many family circumstances are complicated and the law strives to find reasonable solutions to them if the will does not specifically state how they should be handled. Having a child after the will was created is just one area that can cause confusion. For any estate planning concern, it is useful to have professional assistance.