Q: How are heirs determined for a deceased person who passed without a will?
My father recently passed away. On paper, I am his only child. He and my mother were married when I was born and he is listed on my birth certificate. When I was in 5/6, he was dating a woman who was separated from her husband. This woman became pregnant and had a son that she claimed was my father's. Because she was still married to her now ex-husband, the boy has her ex's last name. The ex has since been removed from the boy's birth certificate, but my father's was never added to it. A DNA test was never done to determine paternity, my father just took the boy's mother's word that he was the father. When my father got out of the USMC he tried to add the boy as a legitimate heir to his military life insurance policy but was refused and his is listed as illegitimate, me being the only legitimate heir. My father did pay child support for him, but of his own volition not through a state child support agency like he did with me. Would this boy have any rights regarding my father's estate?
A: You will need to speak to an experienced probate attorney licensed in the state where the decedent lived. Probate law differs from state to state and you are requesting information on a very specific set of facts pertaining to an individual’s right lay claim to the estate. Only someone familiar with the applicable state can give you counsel and it would not be on this board. Good luck.
Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer
When someone dies without a Will they are known as being "intestate." That means that the persons that would be entitled to a distribution from the deceased's estate are determined by the rules of intestacy. Here in Ohio they are called the rules of descent and distribution and are found at Section 2105.06 of the Ohio Revised Code.
Any arguments regarding who would be entitled to an inheritance would be governed by the probate court in either the county in which your father resided, or in the case of real estate, the county where the real estate is located. I recommend hiring a local attorney in your area who can advise you in more detail about your particular situation.
Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer
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