In Miami-Dade, as well as throughout much of the U.S., when a person passes away without leaving a valid will, it can lead to a lengthy probate process. Finalizing the estate of a person that does not have a will can become even more drawn out if there are discrepancies regarding possible beneficiaries and next of kin.
Questions over the paternity of a three-year-old girl could possibly hold up the probate process for the estate of actor, Johnny Lewis. According to reports, prior to his death, the actor, best known for his role as Kip “Half Sac” Epps on the hit TV show “Sons of Anarchy”, believed he fathered the child with her mother, Diane Marshall-Green, an actress who once appeared on the show. Since Lewis reportedly did not have a valid will at the time of his death in 2012, California state law dictates that, if she is his, the toddler is entitled to the entirety of Lewis’ $41,000 estate.
While Lewis’ father reportedly questions whether or not his son is indeed the father of the young girl, he listed her as a possible beneficiary on court documents that were recently filed, seeking to have the actor’s estate divided. According to reports, Lewis’ father feels that he and Lewis’ mother, his wife, are solely entitled to their son’s estate. It is likely the court will contact Marshall-Green to inquire about her daughter’s paternity. If it is possible that Lewis is the father, the distribution of assets and settling of his estate could be postponed pending a paternity test.
Having an estate plan, including a will, can help to prevent issues like those in this case. An attorney can guide you through the process of estate and will planning to help ensure you have all of your affairs in order.
Source: TMZ, “’Sons of Anarchy’ star may have fathered love child with ‘SOA’ actress before murderous rampage”, Oct. 3, 2013