Can an illegitimate child claim inheritance?

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Regardless of whether you’re concerned about claims from illegitimate children for financial provision or you want to ensure that both your legitimate and illegitimate children will be treated equally when it comes to inheritance in the UK, the professional solicitors at Freeman Jones Solicitors can help.

What is meant by ‘illegitimate children’?

The term ‘illegitimate children’ is used to refer to children that are born out of wedlock. This is in contrast to ‘legitimate children’ that are born to parents who are legally married to each other.

Do illegitimate children inherit?

So, can an illegitimate child claim inheritance in the UK? Yes, illegitimate children of the deceased can expect to inherit based on the rules of intestacy.

If the deceased doesn’t leave a will stating their express wishes for the illegitimate child to inherit, then the rules of intestacy will be used to determine the order of inheritance.

As a close full blood relative, The Family Law Reform Act 1987 ensures illegitimate children of the deceased have the same inheritance rights as any legitimate children.

Typically, if the deceased doesn’t have a surviving spouse or civil partner, then the person who is next of kin (often the deceased’s children) will inherit their estate.

Can a non-biological child claim inheritance?

While illegitimate and legitimate children are both biological children of the deceased, do non-biological children of the deceased have any inheritance rights in the UK?

The only non-biological children that are recognised by the rules of intestacy are adopted children, which includes stepchildren that have been adopted by the deceased.

However, even if the non-biological child hasn’t been legally adopted by the deceased, they could still make a claim for the deceased’s estate.

According to The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, non-biological children may be able to make a claim for financial provision from the deceased’s estate if they:

  • Lived with the deceased for at least two years before they passed
  • Were treated as a child of the deceased even though they’re not
  • Were maintained completely or partly by the deceased immediately before their death

Receive tailored legal advice from Freeman Jones Solicitors

Unsure who will inherit your estate when you pass? Prevent inheritance disputes and ensure your wishes are crystal clear with expert legal support from the experienced solicitors at Freeman Jones Solicitors.

We can provide comprehensive legal support with everything from will writing and will storage to estate planning and inheritance trust planning.

If you’d like to learn more about our wills and probate services or have any other inheritance-related queries such as ‘can an illegitimate child claim inheritance in the UK’, please feel free to contact our professional team today.

To book your free, 20-minute, no-obligation consultation or discuss your specific requirements with a member of our knowledgeable team, simply give us a call on 01244 506 444.

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Author Colin Freeman View Profile
Colin qualified as a solicitor in 1998. He specialises predominantly in family law, litigation / dispute resolution, wills, probate and settlement agreements and has notable cases reported in the Court of Appeal and High Court.
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