What Rights Does a Minor Child Have When a Parent He Is Not Living With Dies?
- In most cases, a will typically specifies what each child will receive upon the parent's death, regardless of the living situation. Consult a probate attorney to get information regarding a will. All children of the deceased parent, including adopted and illegitimate children, have the same rights when proportioning benefits and assets. Age is not a discriminating factor as children young and old share the same rights. General rights apply to cases in which a will exists as well as when there is no documented will.
- Surviving minors -- which include blood-related, adopted and illegitimate children -- have the right to claim a portion of the property belonging to the deceased parent. The property in question can include homes, land or other personal properties, including a business. If there is a will, the amount of property to be divided will be outlined therein. When no will is available, the state inheritance laws determine who will inherit the deceased parent's property and how it will be dispersed among the children and spouse.
- All or a portion of the residence where the deceased parent lived will be given an exemption from liability, referred to as a homestead allowance. To prevent creditors from selling the real estate to recover debt owed by the deceased parent, the homestead allowance is given to inheritors of the home to protect them. With the guidance of a relative or guardian, a minor child has the right to claim a homestead allowance. Once the inheritors have made a claim, the amount of the homestead allowance will be determined by the state. Amounts vary in each state.
- Social Security benefits and pensions are included in the survivors benefits that can be given to minor children of the deceased parent. The amount the deceased parent contributed to Social Security as well as his earnings will directly affect the amount of monetary benefits the minor child (or children) will receive. Typically, the child is entitled to receive 75 percent of the deceased parent's Social Security fund. Also, if the deceased parent had a disability and was receiving Social Security benefits as a result, the minor child is eligible to continue receiving all or a portion of those benefits.