On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Estate Planning on Mar 9, 2015.
Parents should not outlive their children, but it happens. A car accident, a terminal illness, a congenital anomaly, a drug overdose — the world is a dangerous place, and life is fraught with risks. Parents try to keep their children safe and to teach them how to protect themselves from all the bad things that can happen. Parents cannot, however, turn back the clock or take the child’s place in that car or in that examination room. In our last post, we were talking about actor Cory Monteith’s lack of an estate plan at the time of his death in 2013. The rules of intestacy dictate that his parents will take equal shares. However, his mother pointed out in court documents that his father had been absent from Monteith’s life for more than a decade. Monteith was 9 years old when his parents split; his father did not pay child support and did not spend time with the boy. They reconnected before Monteith died, but, according to his mother, that was not enough. His father agreed and relinquished his share of the estate. Pennsylvania law has some strict laws about what a parent must do in order to qualify as an intestate heir. The state has limited those behaviors, however, to periods of one year or greater. If a parent walks out in January but comes back from Christmas, he or she could still inherit. First, a parent must support the child or, at the very least, not desert the […]