Inheritance, Parent-Child Relationship

The law and facts do not always align. There are circumstances in which someone may be treated as another’s child legally even though he or she is not biologically a child.

By way of example, a child born during a marriage is presumptively the husband’s offspring for all purposes, including probate and inheritance. Bower v. Graham, 225 S.W. 978 (Mo. 1920). In Bower, a child was conceived during a mother’s first marriage, but born months later after she divorced and married another man. Id. The child was treated as the legal heir and child of the second husband.

By way of further example, it is possible that a signed acknowledgement of paternity under Missouri law, even if erroneous, may also be binding. See § 210.823, RSMo (“[a] signed acknowledgement of paternity form pursuant to section 193.215, RSMo, shall be considered a legal finding of paternity”).


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