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  1. #1
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    Smile Illegitimacy and inheritance

    A housemaid working stately home gets pregnant by a Lord and gives birth to a son. There's more to the story, but that's the gist. Here's my question, if the male decedents of that baby can get DNA proof that they are related to a specific family, do they have any claim to that family's peerage (in our case it would be a Viscount)? Especially if the baby was the second born son and the title currently is being held by the 3rd son's decedents. I know back in the day illegitimate children couldn't inherit anything, but did that change with the Family Reform Act? Is it possible for our grandfather to become heir?
    Last edited by Kerrywood; 17-02-2012 at 9:49 AM. Reason: moved from another thread

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    Rather than have this tacked onto another member's old thread, I've moved it to a new thread of its own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JamieS View Post
    Is it possible for our grandfather to become heir?
    This is my understanding of the situation, but someone who knows better may come along and correct it.

    Throughout the 19th century in English law (Scots law is different), a child who was born illegitimate had no inheritance rights unless:

    1. The child's parents married after it was born, provided they had been free to marry before the child was born. This would confer legitimacy.

    2. The illegitimate child was named and specifically provided for in a legal settlement.

    3. The illegitimate child was bequeathed a legacy in a legally valid will.

    I'm afraid it doesn't look too encouraging.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamieS View Post
    I know back in the day illegitimate children couldn't inherit anything, but did that change with the Family Reform Act? Is it possible for our grandfather to become heir?
    I very much doubt that any statute would have retrospective effect - after all if it did I think that the courts would be clogged up for years with cases disputing claims etc.

    However, I don't know for sure - it just seems illogical to me.

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