When drawing up a will it is important to consider whether children are stepchildren or adopted and children conceived posthumously (after the death of a parent) may not have the rights you would expect.
Rules already differ depending on when the donation of eggs or sperm or the creation of an embryo took place. If the proposed extension from 10 years to 55 years takes place, it will be important for those affected to keep in touch with changing legislation.
Signed written consent to use an egg or embryo posthumously is necessary for treatments after 6th April 2009 and it is anticipated that being able to demonstrate continued consent will be essential.
If a person is not treated as a parent, then the child will not have any right to receive their share of the parent’s estate on death where there is no will. Even if there is a will, then if an estate passes to ‘children’ it relies on a child falling legally within the definition of a ‘child’. Inheritance tax exemptions and reliefs may be affected where they rely on a child and parent relationship.
Children conceived after the death of a parent do not have inheritance rights. To have otherwise could mean claims against estates that may have been administered many years ago.
Rachel Shaw, contentious probate solicitor at Holmes & Hills’ comments “Regarding their inheritance, other than being named on the birth certificate, when a child is conceived posthumously, the deceased father is not classed as the child’s legal parent and as such the child would not inherit under the intestacy rules. As such, the potential to challenge an estate by such a child is hindered. It is hoped, therefore, that the UK law is reviewed so that it is in step with how society is developing, and modern families are forming.”
To talk to a local lawyer about the issues raised in this article, please contact Holmes & Hills' probate & estate administration specialists.