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Addressing the Afterborn Child: Pretermitted child laws prevail

child laws texas

Originally posted on The Dallas Morning News. Read the full article here: https://www.dallasnews.com/sponsored/2022/04/03/addressing-the-afterborn-child-pretermitted-child-laws-prevail/


There’s nothing like a pretermitted child to disrupt an otherwise perfectly good estate plan. In Texas, a “pretermitted child” is one that is born to or adopted by you after you execute your will. A pretermitted child gets special consideration under the law. Most well-drafted wills anticipate a pretermitted child. 


Such wills may read: “the term ‘children’ includes not only the foregoing children but also any other child born to or adopted by me in the future.” A will might also contain a definition of “descendants” that includes an afterborn or adopted child. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have well-drafted wills. 


This column is for those who download a “will” form off the internet, draft their own will, have their will drafted by an attorney not well-versed in estate planning, have a will drafted in another state, or do not update their will after the birth or adoption of a child. It is also for those whose spouse falls into one of the foregoing categories. If that describes you, then you need to worry about the pretermitted child laws. They are a bit complicated, but the gist is that the pretermitted child gets an unanticipated share of your estate after your death. I’ve set out a few examples.

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