What if a person has a child after executing their will?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2024 | Estate Planning And Administration |

Conscientious people in New York know the value of having an estate plan. Many choose to have a will to make sure their loved ones are taken care of and their property goes where they want it to go after they are gone. It is frequently the simplest solution.

However, life changes come up even after the person – known as the testator – writes and executes their will. Regardless of a person’s age, they could have a child after completing their will. The child might have been born after they died. If they do not update the will to add the after-born child to their list of heirs, it is important to know how the property will be distributed.

The after-born child

If a testator has executed their will and did not add a codicil or re-write the will to add the after-born child, it does not mean the child is omitted and cannot receive proceeds from the estate. The circumstances will dictate how the property is split.

Testators who had one or more children when the will was executed and did not have provisions for them will mean the after-born child is not be entitled to any of the testator’s property. If the testator had children before executing the will and they were named, the after-born child will also be entitled to property.

The after-born child can receive a limited amount of property based on what was left to the other children. This child gets what they would have gotten if the testator had added them to the will and the property was split among the children evenly.

When the testator intentionally provided for the children born before the will was executed but never added the after-born child, the after-born child is not completely omitted. They would receive what they would have gotten under the law if the testator did not have a will at all and died intestate. The same is true if there were no other children and the after-born child is the testator’s only child.

Writing and updating an estate plan is imperative to avoid confusion

Simply writing an executing a will or other estate planning document is a wise step to be prepared for the future. Despite that, people’s lives change even after they have completed their estate plan. It is essential to understand how that can have an impact. An after-born child is one such change and the testator needs to be prepared for it by understanding what will happen without an accompanying update.