Massachusetts Agencies

Pretermitted (Omitted) Child


The question of pretermitted children is governed by G.L.c. 191, §20. And although the one-year limitation imposed upon the issue to make their claim within that period or be barred thereafter from doing so (see Chapter 479 of the Acts of 1969), it seems that the issue generally is addressed by Massachusetts Conveyancers' Association Title Standard No. 50. The fact that a child is not mentioned in a will does not mean that the child is a pretermitted child entitled to take under the statute. The omission if intentional and not due to "accident or mistake" will prevent that child from taking under the statute. The "accident or mistakes" that the statute refers to are those committed or associated with the transcription of the will. A mistake of fact or law—for example, a belief that the child is dead — will not result in the omitted child taking under the statute.