My ex-husband died several years ago in Georgia without a will. We had only been divorced for 10 months but I had his minor child, born during our long-time marriage. However, another woman in California claimed to have given birth to his child while we were married. I don't believe she put my husband's name on the birth certificate. Even if she did, he didn't agree to it and was not present at the birth. When her child was about 2 years-old, she apparently filed for welfare and the state forced her to name the father. She gave my husband's name, although he had never acknowledged paternity and was not sure if the child was really his. The state contacted my husband about the welfare action. This was before DNA so I don't know what he was required to do. (I never really read the letter - I dropped it on the floor once I realized that he might have cheated on me and produced a child! ) By the way, the letter did not come directly to our new address - it was delivered to his father's home in California, his last known address, and his father forwarded to my husband in the state that we were living at the time. He never responded and nothing else was ever sent to him. We found out later that the woman decided not to go through with the welfare request and nothing more was ever heard on the matter.
Now this is the issue....my son is grown now and I believe it is important for him to file for Letters of Administration for his father. Although he died with no real property, he has a few published songs which are still being played and recorded. I was going to file for administration upon his death but the clerk told me that, with my child still being a minor, it would be more trouble that it was worth to do so at that time. So I decided to just waited until he had reached age 18.
Can someone tell me if the other child is considered an heir? Remember there is no proof that she is my husband's child - he never acknowledged paternity, did not sign an affidavit allowing his name to be put on the child's birth certificate (if it is there), the mother never filed a paternity suit in his lifetime. What is the age of majority in California for this purpose? Is there a statute of limitations for a child to file its own paternity suit upon reaching the age of majority? If the child does so, who has to pay for it as it will have to one of those "reverse paternity" tests since he is dead and his remains cremated?
I bear no animosity towards the child (although it took a real long time for me to feel this way! ). I don't want to refer to the child as "illegitimate" because all of God's children are legitimate. However, not all are legal heirs or issue for the purposes of the law. And I am not going delude myself by swearing to the fact that he never signed anything - he cheated on me so you know I don't trust him like that!! But when I filed for Social Security Survivor's benefits for my child, the other woman made no claim at that time or later, which you would think that she would do if she had the legal right. She knew when he died and how to reach his family in California.
As for the royalties, we are not talking about a lot of money at this time but, with the way the music business is, you never know. I just want my son to have ownership of his father's copyrights and be able to administer them. Copyrights are negotiable and pass on to the writer's legal successors. And this situation must be faced squarely at some time in the very near future.