How is inheritance handled in the case of a posthumous birth?

A posthumous birth is the birth of a baby, who is born after one or the other parents has passed away. It is very sad whenever a baby is born without a mother or a father because the child will never benefit from these relationships. Beyond this, posthumous birth also indicates a unique legal challenge.

British Columbia law, however, provides clear guidance on this issue. The law states that relatives and descendants who were conceived by the decedent prior to his or her the death, and born after his or her death, and stays alive for a minimum of five days will receive inheritance rights that are the same as any person born within the decedent's life.

Interestingly, the law reveals that a posthumous birth could occur as many as two years following the decedent's death, and the baby will still be considered an heir to the decedent's state. These types of situations could occur following the use of the decedent's reproductive materials after the person has died, which is not an uncommon occurrence given today's modern reproductive technologies that involve the saving and freezing of such materials. The individual's right to inherit begins on the day of the birth; however, and mentioned above, in order for the inheritance to occur, the heir must live for at least five days.

Other legal issues will likely come into play with a posthumous birth, like the rights of other would-be heirs who come forward after a particular person's death. Fortunately, a British Columbia estate attorney is qualified to answer these questions and advise individuals on how to proceed with their cases.

Source: bclaws.ca, "Wills, Estates and Succession Act," accessed Aug. 12, 2016

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