Have you ever wondered why people still go to the bother of writing a Will? Well here is one example where it makes a lot of sense.
A few years ago, a woman named Jasmine passed away leaving an estate of 3 real estate parcels located in two states valued at around $800,000. Jasmine did not execute a Will or any other type of estate planning device. Jasmine's husband had already passed away. However, the Jasmine did have two sons. Both sons pre-deceased Jasmine. So now the tough work begins in trying to find heirs. Turns out one son died never married without any children. No Heirs there. The other child named Richard never married but allegedly was the father of a child. However, at the time of the birth of the child, no paternity hearing was held and paternity was never determined. Also, the son was not listed as the father on the birth certificate. Richard never paid child support and no application for child support was ever made. The mother allowed very little contact with the child and for the most part, Richard did not have much contact with the child and the extended family had only one visit with the child.
Quandary – The child without established paternity is now possibly the sole heir to the estate even though Jasmine had almost no contact with the child and the child made no effort to have a relationship with the child. In this case Jasmines siblings, some of whom live on the parcels of real estate will not inherit if the heirship for the child is proven.
Solution for others: A simple Will with a very basic provision could have been written to clarify who inherited under the Will especially with regard to a child that no one is sure is an heir to the estate. A well written Will might have honored the family that was tight knit as opposed to having all of the inheritance go to a child who was essentially never part of the family relationship and may not be an heir.
Usually a Will will name an executor to manage the estate and either make provisions for the testators children, descendants or specific people. In families where unmarried couples exist or the paternity of children is questioned, specific people can be listed as beneficiaries eliminating the heirship problems discussed above.