Illegitimate children are those born outside of marriage, or out of wedlock, in older terminology. These days the word “illegitimate” has largely been replaced in law by the term “ex-nuptial” – nuptial referring to marriage. Either way, can an ex-nuptial child inherit from their natural parents? Or contest a natural parent’s will for provision out of their estate? What if no will was left?
Inheritance and intergenerational transfer of property has concerned families and civilisations for centuries. Inheritance laws of the ancient city of Gortyn (Gortys), Crete were inscribed on stone in a public place in the fifth century. The Law Code of Gortyn is a written set of rules prescribing who inherits, among other private matters, so as to keep property in the male side of family.
A family tree outlining close family/next of kin relationships is useful in preparing to make a will, and as a reference in situations of intestacy.
The Law of the Twelve Tables, which contained rules on inheritance, was a code formulated to appease class conflict in the largely agrarian society in Rome in 450 BCE. The Twelve Tables formed the basis of Roman Law.