Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina

Q: how do I become my father's beneficiary? I am trying to get certain things in order before and thing tragic happen

I am asking because my father did not sign my birth certificate. Also can he still sign it?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: Your father can name you on any of his beneficiary on any assets that allow him to name a beneficiary. Often, this includes life insurance and retirement accounts. This is up to your father to do: you cannot make his estate plan for him (unless you have a Power of Attorney from your father that allows you to change beneficiary designations, which is not common).

If your father wants to leave you any more of his property (rather than just the accounts or policies on which he can name a beneficiary), he needs to create a will in which he leaves his property to you. Again, this is your father’s responsibility and not something that you can do on his behalf.

Your father can leave property to you through a will and/or a beneficiary designation, regardless of whether or not he signed your birth certificate. If he does want to officially legitimize you as his son, he can file to establish paternity. (He can’t just sign the birth certificate at this stage). A suit recognizing you as his son might allow you to obtain certain benefits, such as social security or military benefits, that you otherwise wouldn’t be entitled to.

It sounds like your father might want to see a local estate planning attorney to change or update his estate plan. You may also need to see a family law attorney.

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