A pretermitted heir is a child or descendant of the testator—the maker of a will—who has unintentionally been omitted from the will. States have enacted “pretermitted heir statutes” that protect these heirs. The presumption of these statutes is that the testator must expressly disinherit a child or descendant in his or her will. This presumption dates back to early Roman Law. If the will does not specify intention to disinherit, the law will presume that the omission of the child or descendant was unintentional. These statutes authorize the child or descendant to take the same share of the estate that he or she would have taken if the testator had died intestate, without a will. A pretermitted heir must be a child or descendant either living at the date of the execution of the will or born thereafter. These after-born heir statutes are similar to pretermitted heir provisions. The presumption is that an after-born child does not revoke a will but has the effect of modifying it.
11/9/19 Pretermitted heir