Having the state recognize you as the father of your biological child is important to establish your right to care for your child. Paternity also opens the way for your child to receive Social Security benefits and insurance coverage from you. Additionally, establishing paternity also expands your child’s right to inherit from you.
To understand how paternity grants inheritance rights, you should first understand the concept of intestate succession.
Dying intestate in Georgia
If you die without making out a will, the state of Georgia will distribute your state according to intestacy laws. This means your closest family members will receive the first considerations to inherit from you. If you have a spouse but no children, your spouse will receive all of your estates. The same is true if you have children but no spouse. However, if you have a spouse and biological children, the state will divide your estate between them.
Establishing paternity for inheritance
If the state does not recognize your children as your own, they will lack automatic inheritance rights. So if you have a child out of wedlock and have not written a will, it is possible your estate will only go to your existing spouse and any children you have in that marriage. However, Georgia law allows you to make your child an intestate heir through a few steps.
While you are alive, you must recognize your paternity in written form and sign your child’s birth certificate. A court must establish your paternal relationship through an order. There must also be evidence to establish your paternity and there must be no clear and convincing evidence that disputes your paternity.
Consider writing a will
Including your son or daughter in the line of intestate succession should give you some peace of mind that your child will have the right to inherit from your estate. Still, you can further reinforce your child’s rights by including him or her in a written will and in beneficiary designations on your insurance policies and other accounts that will payout after your death.