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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 117358
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I have 2 questions. First, I am an illegitimate child and my

Customer Question

Hi, I have 2 questions. First, I am an illegitimate child and my father recently passed away in the State of Washington. He did not include me in his will. In fact he didn't acknowledge me at all stating that his 3 children from his first marriage were all he had and that "no other children were born to or adopted by me". I met him for the first time in early 1983 and spent 2 weeks at his home in Montana. At that time (I was 19) he told my siblings I was their brother. I have a sparing amount of documentation from him and on my birth certificate my older half brothers father is named as my father because it was 1963 and my mother didn't want me to appear as illegitimate, even though I was. My biological father never denied paternity to me or my siblings. We kept in contact for about 4 years but then it was obvious he wasn't interested in doing so after that. In his will he provided for my siblings but as I mentioned, he didn't even acknowledge my existence. So my questions are 1) If I contest the will do I have a case in the state of Washington and 2) I've spoken to an attorney in Washington who did a bit of case study and seems to think I have a case but isn't sure. She'd like me to put down a retainer to continue to study the case law to see if I do. I want to move ahead with this but spending $1000 to $2000 just to find out, in her opinion, if I do makes me hesitant. Initially she thought I had a case based upon the "Omitted Child" statute but I read it and I clearly don't qualify under that statute which has shaken my confidence somewhat so I'd like advice as to whether I should pay an attorney to take the time to decide if I have a leg to stand on. It's very confusing. Thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
There is no forced heirship in WA. So if he named his children in the will and said he had 3 children and no more, this is going to be hard to overcome. If there were forced heirship, you could have a possible case, but I do not think if he specifically provided for each child by name in a will you would have a chance as an omitted child, since that is not going to seem to apply here based on the facts you provided above. The other thing that needs to be determined is whether or not the will has a no contest clause (anti terroram clause) which states anyone who challenges the will is forbidden from inheriting, that would also end any possible claim you could have.
I do not see how RCW 11.12.091 would apply to your situation as omitted child though, since you say the will specifically mentioned his children and specifically said he had no others. So I would be skeptical of investing $1000-$2000 for the attorney to get into this and tell you sorry you do not fit the law, which you already read.

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