Q: My father passed recently and I am an adult child born out of wedlock. Am I included in probate?
My Dad isn't named on my birth certificate. My siblings pretend I'm not alive and I would like to be able to have some of his personal things. Can I legally make them include me before they separate his belongings up amongst themselves? I'm not seeking financial gain just pictures, or things he liked? I'm not sure if there was a will. They didn't notify me of his illness, and he was cremated before I knew he was even sick. (Covid) I live out-of-state, they blocked me entirely from being able to reach them. I have no idea what I can do if anything to be included in any part of this.
A: Your father's personal belongings pass to those named in his will. You don't have a claim to them if you're not named in his will. If he doesn't have a will, then it gets complicated as to whether you are entitled to part of his estate and you would need to have a conversation with a probate lawyer to determine whether you are an heir. In practice though, it's probably best to find a person in the family who you can talk to and simply ask them. Whether your claim is lawful only matters if you go to court and it sounds like it's not worth litigating.
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