A Thanksgiving surprise: My father, 72, dropped a bombshell — he has a 9-year-old son. What happens to his $10 million estate?

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Dear Quentin,

My mother and father’s marriage had a rocky patch in the early ’60s. They actually split for about six months. My mother had some mental-health issues which led to the separation. My father is almost 72 years old and my mother passed away eight years back.

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My dad worked in a different city for some time. During that time he had an affair with a much younger colleague. She became pregnant and had a child. My parents never said anything about this. He blamed himself for driving my father away.

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My father lives alone since my mother’s death. He would sometimes disappear for a week and a half only to say that he was out of town visiting friends. My father has just been diagnosed with cancer. The prognosis is good, but he talked to all my sisters about their property.

,‘Both my sisters were shocked by this revelation.’,

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My father just dropped a bombshell about the affair and 9 year old half brother we didn’t know about. This revelation left both my sisters in a state of shock. I am 40 years old, and my two sisters are in their mid 30s.

My parents helped us a lot when we got married and when we started our careers. We are all financially secure. My father and mother together made a lot of money. He also owns about $5 million to $6 million in real estate, about $2.5 million in Roth IRAs, as well as some CDs and a brokerage account. All told, he’s worth $10 million.

,‘Can the new step brother get 25% of my father’s property?’,

He also told us that he started a 529 for our half brother and has about $60,000 in it. According to my dad, the woman he had the affair with didn’t ask for any child support, and they’ve been seeing each other for the past few years.

My father is going to update his will and estate plan. They have asked us for suggestions to overcome this. My two sisters are angry with my father and don’t want to discuss it. I am the only one who understands a little.

My concerns are: what should we do legally? Can the new step brother get 25% of my father’s property? What is the right of girlfriend on my father’s property? My father has a clear mind, and his cancer diagnosis sparked this conversation.

Dazed and Confused in Colorado

Dear Dazed and Confused,

You may view this new addition to your family through a lens of dread and resentment, or as a thank you gift.

There’s no guarantee that a parent with a net worth of $10 million will leave any Out of that to your children. Yes, your father’s son is lucky to have parents of such means, especially since it will no doubt come as a surprise. But you and your sisters are lucky too. You just had one lifetime to get used to the idea.

I am glad you have asked about the legality and practicality of dividing your father’s property. If we’re not here to help each other, what’s the point? Your father’s wealth should make it easier for you and your sisters to come to terms with the news that your father has a child whose life now comes with infinitely more opportunities. As does yours.

Three things: 1. Not all states treat half-siblings equally under intestacy laws. 2. Step children are not considered legal heirs. and 3. you have a 9 year old brother No A stepchild He is your father’s biological child, and your half-brother. The biggest mistake you can make is letting your father’s love affair reflect your feelings for your little brother.

,‘He is your father’s biological child, and your half-brother.’,

You have a few options. You can divide your father’s property in four ways and consider your 9 year old brother equally. Or you can use your state’s laws as a guide. I support 25% division. Your father can set up a trust in her name for her schooling, provide her with an income and finally, provide a lump sum amount to spend on real estate or setting up her own business.

In Texas, if there is more than one full sibling, half-siblings receive half the inheritance as full siblings because they only share one parent with their others. Rania Combs writes, an attorney licensed in Texas and North Carolina. She says that in California, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota and North Carolina, half-siblings and full siblings have equal rights.

There may come a time when he needs an older brother, or would like to have an older brother to guide him. Besides being a financial dilemma for your family – as far as your inheritance is concerned – it is also an opportunity for you to mentor and serve this boy as he grows up. He may believe that he is an only child.

The second inheritance, if you are willing, lies in the goodwill and acceptance of you and your two sisters.

check out moneylender private facebook Group, where we find answers to life’s toughest money issues. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you’d like to know more about, or pay attention to the latest Manist column.

Dhanwadi regrets that he cannot answer questions personally.

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