Women generally know if they have had a child that they did not tell their husbands about. However, some men may not know that they have had other children outside their marriage if they were in relationships prior to marriage or they strayed. When that happens, most guys who amass wealth have to take into consideration the possibility that they might have other children out there. This is especially important when it comes down to estate planning, wills, and trusts. Typically, the "illegitimate child" clause provides for any "surprises" after death, including contesters of the will who claim to be blood kin. There are a few other related maneuvers that apply in these cases, and here is how you can plan for these unusual possibilities.
The "Illegitimate Child" Clause and Trust
This is a clause in your will that states that, to the best of your knowledge, you do not have any other children than those that are already recognized. However, you wish to provide for these children so that if they, or their mothers, make an appearance to contest the will, they will be provided for, so long as they can prove through DNA testing that the child or children belong to you. By providing in advance for these children (should they exist), you are decreasing the odds that they will sue your estate and rob your heirs of what you promised them.
The trust you set up for these unknown children should provide a specific amount per possible child. A lawyer can help you determine what is a reasonable amount, and help you figure out the likelihood of any other children you might have. For example, if you had three relationships prior to your wife, and one more fling while you were married, you should establish a set amount for approximately four possible children from four previous relationships. You may also set an expiration date on the trust such that when it expires, the remaining funds held in that trust are disbursed equally among your heirs.
Preventing Your Other Heirs from Going after the "Other Children" Trust
To prevent your other kids from going after the previously mentioned trust until it expires, provide them with their own trusts. Try to make the trusts as equal as possible, unless you have specific reasons for not doing so. Then list those reasons in your will. Also, it helps to list consequences of contesting your will or contesting the "other child" trust. Removing their trusts from them for contestation and giving the money and possessions to the rest of the heirs will prevent fights and courtroom drama (for the most part).
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