Your Family Matters

After executing a will, a new child warrants an update

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2024 | Estate Planning

In Illinois, people create a will or other estate planning document to be fully prepared for the future. That includes taking care of their loved ones, addressing business needs and allocating property as they see fit. But wills don’t necessarily remain static. The person may need to make changes.

A common time for people to update or rewrite a will is after a major change in their lives. That could include a sudden windfall; retirement; getting divorced; getting married; and having children. When a person has a new child who is not mentioned in the will, the testator needs to be aware of how that impacts their current will.

What if a new child is not accounted for in a will?

People who write a will do so to avoid the potential disputes and problems that accompany dying without one – also referred to as dying intestate. Without a will, the person’s property will be distributed according to state law and it might not be in a way they would have chosen had they crafted an estate plan. When a new child is not part of the will, there are laws in place that determine what that child receives.

Those who do not add a provision in their will for the new child or make clear that they did not intend to provide for the child will see their estate divided based on intestate laws. That child will receive a part of the testator’s estate as if the person did not have a will at all. Based on that, it will hinge on other factors such as a surviving spouse and other siblings.

As with all areas of estate planning, disputes can arise for myriad reasons. If the testator had a child after they executed their will, this can stoke disagreement and questions as to what they intended. It can delay the process and result in legal battles and hard feelings among family members.

Wills may need to be updated based on the situation

People who have taken the necessary step in writing a will or using another estate planning option need to understand that changes could need to be made as time passes. That is particularly true if they have a child after the will was executed. In some cases, they might not want the child in the will. Regardless of the testator’s preferences, it is critical to update the estate plan accordingly to ensure their wishes are carried out.