Illegitimate children, ex-nuptial children – can they inherit?

illegitimate children, ex-nuptial children, contest a will, challenge a will, inheritance, inherit, what is an exnuptial childIllegitimate children or ex-nuptial children are those born outside of marriage. Changes to the law mean that the inheritance rights of illegitimate children are equal to those of legitimate children.  So this means they can inherit. What happens if no will was left, (an intestacy) either by an ex-nuptial child or their parent? Who inherits then? Can an ex-nuptial or illegitimate child be eligible under succession law to make a claim on a deceased parent’s estate?
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Gortyn laws – ancient inheritance laws etched in stone

The Great Inscription at Gortyn on the Island of Crete, Greece

Ancient inheritance law, Law code of Gortyn, inscription, law in stone, Ancient inheritance laws etched in stone walls

Some of the earliest known written inheritance and succession laws can be found at the archaeological site of Gortyn, on the southern side of the island of Crete, Greece.  Gortyn, Gortys or Gortyna was once a large, busy metropolis in Ancient Greece.
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A family tree can be useful, with or without a will

Why do a family tree?

family tree, wills, inheritance, intestate, intestacy,

A family tree is a record of information about family relationships. It is useful to have a basic outline of close family/next of kin relationships to keep with your personal papers.  This maybe unnecessary you might think.

However a family tree can be helpful in preparing to make a will, especially where large, complex estates, blended families and business succession issues are involved.  More

Inheritance and the Twelve Tables, an ancient Roman statute

The Law of the Twelve Tables 451- 449 BCE

The Twelve Tables is a body of law, or a code, (although not likely in the strict sense of a code covering all topics), is widely accepted as forming the basis of Roman Law.  Consisting of mostly civil law it was important in codifying and publicising the customary laws of the predominantly agrarian community operating at that time.

Table V dealt with inheritance and guardianship.  Some excerpts follow:

” 4.  If anyone who has no direct heir dies intestate the nearest male agnate shall have the estate.”
” 5.  If there is not a male agnate the male clansmen shall have the estate.”
” 6.  Persons for whom by will…a guardian is not given, for them..their male agnates shall be guardians.”
” 9.  Debts of the estate of a deceased shall be divided, according to law, among the heirs, proportionally to the share of the inheritance that each acquires. “

 

An agnate was a relative from the father’s side, someone of the male lineage.

 Ancient Roman Statutes, The Corpus of Roman Law, A Translation, Volume II,
A C Johnson, P R Coleman-Norton, F C Bourne,
C Pharr & M B Pharr (Eds),
University of Texas Press, Austin, 1961

© BHS Legal
April 2014

Twelve Tables, Roman law, inheritance law