The Latest Twist on the Rich Girl Dilemma: My Partner Wants My Child and My Money
Lynne Marie Kohm
Regent University - School of Law
May 30, 2011
Estate Planning and Community Property Law Journal, Vol. 3, p. 1, 2011
This essay explores whether a partner may access the family fortune by virtue of parentage of a partner’s adopted child when that partner has little to no legal connection to the child (via adoption, biology, primary caregiver, or de facto parent) nor to the partner (contractual, testamentary, civil union, marriage, or registered domestic partnership) but may have some claim to assert such rights based on progressive state law. The article will discuss relevant legal issues and considers how complicated the landscape for families has become. Section I provides background as to how some state case law allows a person to access the child of his or her partner by virtue of that partnership. Section II provides classic rich girl examples of the dilemma played out in case law and gossip columns alike. Section III offers solutions for generational estate planning that may provide some assistance to dynasty families in equipping their children for leaving a legacy, rather than a muddle of partnership chaos. This article will close with suggestions for generational estate planning designed to defend a family fortune from potentially opportunistic partners.
Every wealthy parent worries that a voracious partner will take advantage of his or her child. When that partner can claim parenthood status, his or her access to the family fortune is all the more rapacious. The latest twist on the classic rich girl dilemma is well worth this epigrammatic examination.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12
Keywords: Wealth transfer, partner, parent, legacy, marriage, partnership, civil union, rich
JEL Classification: K10, J18
Date posted: May 30, 2012