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Can I Leave My Fortune to a Child Who Has Not Been Born Yet?

There is no way of truly knowing what happens after you pass away. While New York residents can try their best to plan for the future and prepare for all eventualities, the estate planning process always features an element of the unknown. For example, no one can be sure what will happen to their family after they pass away. Your relatives may have children of their own, or they may not. Your family line could potentially end within just a few generations if none of your descendants have children.

With all that said, you can still hope for the best and approach the estate planning process with a sense of optimism. For most people, this means leaving their fortune to their existing family members. But what about children who do not technically exist yet? Can you leave your wealth to children who may one day become part of your family?

Questions such as these are best left answered by a qualified, experienced estate planning attorney. Reach out to an estate planning attorney in New York, and you can approach this situation with greater clarity and efficiency.

You Can Leave Your Wealth to a “Class” of People

In New York, you do not have to be specific about who you leave your wealth to. You can simply designate a “class” of people as your beneficiaries in a trust or will. For example, you could state that you wish to leave your wealth to all children born to your wife in the future. You can even set a conception date and state that this only applies to children conceived while you were alive (or children who are born less than nine months after your passing).

In addition, you could state that you wish to leave your wealth to all future children birthed by your daughter, or your sister, or anyone else for that matter. If your wife is currently pregnant, you can simply state that you wish to leave your wealth to “my children.” With this approach, you can put your children in your will even if they have not been born yet (or named).

Posthumously Conceived Children

Another similar issue involves posthumously conceived children. Modern technology allows individuals to freeze their eggs and sperm. This creates a scenario in which children could potentially be conceived long after a parent’s death. The issue is slightly contentious, and each state seems to have a different stance on the issue. However, New York has developed a clear set of laws on this matter. Posthumous children may be considered distributees of their genetic parents for inheritance purposes as long as a few rules are followed:

  • Seven years prior to your death, you must write that you intend to have your reproductive cells used to conceive a child

  • You must authorize your surviving partner to make decisions about this genetic material through the Surrogate’s Court

  • The child must be in utero within 24 months, and born within 33 months

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the New York area for a qualified, dependable attorney who can assist you with the estate planning process, look no further than The Glassman Law Group. We can explain these matters in much greater detail. When you’re ready, we can also help you plan your estate so that all of your wishes are clearly accounted for. Book a consultation today, and we will develop an action plan together.


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