What Happens to Children Accidentally Left Out of a Will?

millman law group children accidentally left out of a will

What happens to children accidentally left out of a will?

If you have created your estate plan with your estate planning attorney, considering all the crucial steps and inclusions, you may feel relieved to have accomplished this task. However, some situations may occur after you complete your Will and which will have an impact on your estate after you pass. For instance, if you have a child born to you or legally adopted by you, and you do not update your estate plan before you die, how can you guarantee that the new child is included in your Will? When creating estate plans, the attorneys at The Millman Law Group consider all potential scenarios to ensure no errors such as this are made. But if children are accidentally left out of a Will, here is what you must know. 

Florida Statutes Regarding Children Omitted From a Will 

In Florida, with some exceptions, a parent has no legal obligation to leave anything to their children. So, while a parent may disinherit a child, the courts are vigilant about protecting against mistakes or the accidental disinheritance of children. In Florida, a child can still inherit from their parent’s estate if they qualify as a “pretermitted child.”

Disinherited vs. Pretermitted

There is a difference between being disinherited and pretermitted. An heir that is disinherited was intentionally left out of the Will, while pretermitted often refers to children accidentally left out of a Will. This can occur if a parent dies without knowing that they had a child or this particular child. It may also happen if the child is born years after the Will is made and is mistakenly left out because the parent died before updating their Will and estate plan. 

Who Qualifies as a Pretermitted Child? 

Children accidentally left out of a Will are known as “pretermitted.” Florida’s pretermitted child statute is made to avoid the unintentional or accidental disinheritance of a child. The statute defines a pretermitted child as born or adopted after the Will is executed. Five statutory elements must be met for a person to be a pretermitted child. They must be: 

  • Omitted from the Will
  • Born or adopted after the creation of the Will 
  • And must not have received an advance equal to their share of the testator’s estate 

What Happens Next? Contact Your Probate Lawyer

If the court determines that a child was mistakenly omitted from the Will, the child is entitled to receive their share of the decedent’s estate per Florida’s intestacy statutes. 

Everyone’s circumstances are unique, and probate laws can be complicated. This is why it is always recommended to work with an experienced probate attorney. In some instances, you may need to prove paternity to prove a pretermitted child status. In other cases, a person who qualifies as pretermitted still might not inherit anything, for example, when the decedent already gave the child an amount equal to their share. If you have questions concerning this matter, contact The Millman Law Group for help navigating estate plans, probate, Wills, and much more. 

Estate Planning Made Easy With Millman Law Group

Millman Law Group, PLLC is rare because it’s one of the only law firms that offer life planning in South Florida. From life care planning to the preparation of detailed estate plans, Millman Law Group has committed to serving Floridian elderly communities in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Ocean Ridge, Hillsboro Beach, and many other areas since 2018. Our dedicated team also specializes in special needs Trusts and catering to any age demographic because we know for certain it’s never too early to start preparing you and your family for your future. For the latest news in estate planning and elder care law, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest. You can also contact us at 561-463-6480.