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callyrsweety

Child inheritance rights if not listed in will

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I have a very unique situation. My mother has never known where her father was or anything about that side of the family until recently. I was doing some research and found his brother on Facebook, we have since then met the brother and his sons. We have still never met her father/my grandfather. Here are the facts.

 

Her father never paid child support and I don't believe my grandmother ever went after him in the courts to try and obtain any support.

Her father is listed on her birth certificate.

My mother tried to contact him several times but his wife kept him away. 

We found out that 9 months after my mom was born - her father who named my mom Lisa and his wife had a little girl and named her the same name (Lisa) to cover up my mom. Apparently her father was a two timing scumbag who knocked up my grandmother and then knocked up his then girl friend but what is now his wife. Here's the kicker. The other child (Lisa) isn't even his. We found this out recently that she is adopted. So basically the wife and my grandfather were both cheating on each other. He had my mom and 9 months later the wife had her daughter and he adopted her but basically blew off my mother. 

 

We have recently found out through his brother that he is not in good health, has about 6 months to live. I have tried to reach out through the wife because he is not capable of comprehending much at this point or using a phone or facebook. She just ignores me. We found out from the brother that he is LOADED. Has a huge estate, money, etc. He's apparently put all of his kids and grandkids through college. We also found out that his mother was half choctaw indian so we could have been getting financial assistance for college or housing for years and never knew it!!!! I watched my mom struggle as a single mother and I myself have struggled. We are so infuriated that all these years not only did we miss out on family vaca's, some pretty awesome cousins but also all those years struggling could have been avoided. 

 

Our question is, what are our rights as child and grandchild as far as the estate and his will after he passes? His brother believes that the wife has shunned us in order to keep the estate and money all to herself but also to hide from the other Lisa that she is really adopted by my grandfather. So not only has she kept us from our father/grandfather but now this too? Can they really get away with this??? Can we sue them? 

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Our question is, what are our rights as child and grandchild as far as the estate and his will after he passes?

 

None, unless he has a will and leaves you something in it.

 

 

 

Can they really get away with this??? Can we sue them? 

 

Sue whom and for what?  Nothing you've described is even remotely illegal.  The only thing your grandfather ever could have been legally obligated to do was pay child support.  If your mother wanted child support, she could have sought it but apparently chose not to do so.  You are, of course, free to contact "the other Lisa" and share with her what you've learned.

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A little too much info given question. (I understand need to vent, etc., but there are places for that. The comment about missing out on great vacations kinda misses the point that her father didn't want to be in her life, or was too much a weiner to defy his wife. (I also wouldn't agree that daughter was given same name to "cover up" your mother; that doesn't make a ton of sense anyway.)

Your mom could only be what LA calls a forced heir until she was 24. This means your grandfather is free to leave whatever of his estate is not community property with wife to whom he likes.

Your mom is free to talk with LA estate-probate attorney wuth litigation experience about any case law that may indicate otherwise. Ultimately, he or his wife might cough up some money if they think some lawyer will do X in terms of suit without caring about his-her own payday. Of course, such a lawyer would be hard to find, and your mother might incur considerable costs. Would another part of his family fund that? Who knows.

With time and some perspective, you'll see that your mother could've looked into the topic of her father long ago even if her mom wasn't forthcoming.

Presumably his brother can figure out or already knows whether his brother wants to make amends.

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@Fallen, I know for a fact that they named the daughter the same name to cover up my mother. One of the Aunt's AND my grandmother has confirmed that. 

 

Also, my mother did try to contact him SEVERAL times. She was ignored, hung up on (by the wife) and her letters were discarded. My mother and father both stopped by the grocery store that he owned at one point several years ago before they divorced, the wife was rude and told them to leave. So your assumption that my mom didn't look into this topic a long time ago is inaccurate. Shortly after my parents divorced and my mother struggled and didn't have the money to hire an attorney to hunt this guy down. 

 

Lastly, your lack of understanding or compassion is really sad. Act like a human. Until you've been in the same situation I'd highly advise you not tell someone who has been through this to not vent in any forum. Regardless of too much information or not I have freedom of speech sweetie and merely wanted to explain the situation in as much detail as I could. Some legal aids want a lot of info/background.

 

@pg1067 - Sue for emotional distress and/or damages. 

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Sorry, but don't shoot the messenger. The time for suing for emotional distress has long since passed, damages are the result of a lawsuit, but not grounds to sue by themselves. A person is entitled to leave his estate to whomever or whatever they want. No one is entitled to an inheritance, except a spouse. A minor exception, although a long shot in this case, is if the will was written before the child was born, then the omitted child may sue for a portion of the estate as a predermitted heir.

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@Fallen, I know for a fact that they named the daughter the same name to cover up my mother. One of the Aunt's AND my grandmother has confirmed that.

What people conclude doesn't mean anything, and I don't even know what "cover up" is supposed to mean or achieve. Neither here nor there.

No one said your mother didn't try to contact your father. Also don't know what that is supposed to mean. I am talking about how your mother was free to gather whatever info about him she pleased without interacting with someone she knew didn't want to be in her or your life, as well as pursue legal rights (child support). She didn't need to interact with him to learn about his Native American background. She also wouldn't need an attorney to track him down (assuming he moved).

YOU are misinterpreting what I said at outset and actively disregarding the comment about how (this is a legal info forum and as such) not a good place to vent non-legal feelings. Much of what you wrote is not relevant to legal question of recourse. I recommend not viewing through emotional lens. Furthermore, freedom of speech doesn't apply except if a government is attempting to restrict. This is why, for instance, a site can ban you for poor behavior or disregarding rules.

There is no legal basis here on which to sue for emotional distress. Please review prior responses.

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doucar, your answer suggests there was ever a basis on which to sue for emotional distress, but you presumably understand there was no relevant/viable tort here. Best not to mislead, even unintentionally.

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@pg1067 - Sue for emotional distress and/or damages. 

 

Emotional distress is a form/type of damages and, in order to sue successfully for any sort of damages, there must be a valid substantive claim (e.g., breach of contract, negligence, etc.).  Neither you nor your mother has or had any viable claim against her father.  In my prior response, I wrote the following:  "If your mother wanted child support, she could have sought it but apparently chose not to do so."  It should have said "grandmother," not mother, but the point is that the only thing for which your grandfather could have been liable was child support, and that ship has long since sailed.

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Hi callysweety,

 

Welcome to the community and thanks for posting. Really sorry to hear about everything that you and your mother went through. It sounds like there are two issues to consider.

 

First, there is the issue of your grandfather’s estate, and where his property will go once he passes away. If he dies without a will, his estate will be passed to his heirs consistent with the laws of intestacy in your state. If he has a will or trust when he dies, then his property will be distributed consistent with that estate instrument. It would be helpful to know if your grandfather has an estate plan, and if so, what is says. Consider speaking with an experienced estate and trust attorney about your mother’s rights. You can use our Legal Directory to find an experienced estate planning attorney—and many offer free consultations.

 

Second, there is the issue of what other claims of action you or your mother may have against your grandfather because of his conduct. Unfortunately, as other users have stated, individuals have the right to distribute their assets among their family members in any way they want—both before death and in their estate plans. While this certainly caused heartache and difficulty for you and your mother, it may not give rise to a cause of action for emotional distress. However, a civil attorney experienced with torts like infliction of emotional distress can advise you about your likelihood of success and other options available to you. If you need help searching for a civil attorney, you can use our Lawyer Directory.

 

Best of luck and keep us posted!

The FindLaw.com Team

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Was grandfather legally married to your mother's mother?

 

What state is applicable here?

 

doucar mentioned a "predermitted" heir, but the correct term is pretermitted, or an omitted child.

 

You can consult an attorney about this after the grandfather has died, because your mother's ability to inherit will most likely depend on whether she was born before or after the will was executed, and you won't know that date until you have gotten a copy of the will from the probate court.

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Legally, your mother is not his child. From the sounds of it paternity was never established and for all you know, the reason your grandmother never pursued it is because this guy wasn't actually the father. Your grandmother didn't bother to establish her child as a legal heir, nor did your mother, despite knowing who he was and presumably that he had money. Legally, Lisa is his as an adopted child is every bit as much someone's child as one conceived with their spouse. Families are made of much more than DNA.

 

Even if this guy had been legally established as the father, and even if he had played some role in your lives, you still wouldn't automatically inherit anything. He would still be free to leave his estate to his wife, his other children, his brother, charity, etc. If he is indeed wealthy and a business owner, I'm betting he has a will. That still stands. You simply can not force him to include you or anyone else in his will. He could, just to make a point or get you to go away add you and leave you $1, or other paltry sum. All beneficiaries do not have to inherit equally.

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