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LEGITIME, civil law. That portion of a parent's estate of which he cannot disinherit his children, without a legal cause. The civil code of Louisiana declares that donations inter vivos or mortis causa cannot exceed two-thirds of the property of the disposer if he leaves at his decease a legitimate child; one half if he leaves two children; and one-third if he leaves three or a greater number. Under the name of children are included descendants of whatever degree they may be; it must be understood that they are only counted for the child they represent. Civil. Code of Lo. art. 1480.
     3. Donation inter vivos or mortis causa, cannot exceed two-thirds of the property if the disposer having no children have a father, mother, or both. Id. art. 1481. Where there are no descendants, and in case of the previous decease of the father and mother, donations inter vivos and mortis causa, may, in general, be made of the whole amount of the property of the disposer. Id. art. 1483. The Code Civil makes nearly similar provisions. Code Civ. L. 3, t. 2, c. 3, s. 1, art. 913 to 919.
     4. In Holland, Germany, and Spain, the principles of the Falcidian law, more or less limited, have been generally adopted. Coop. Just. 616.
     5. In the United States, other than Louisiana and in England, there is no restriction on the right of bequeathing. But this power of bequeathing did not originally extend to all a man's personal estate; on the contrary, by the common law, as it stood in the reign of Henry II, a man's goods were to be divided into three equal parts, one of which went to his heirs or lineal descendants, another to his wife, and the third was at his own disposal; or if he died without a wife, he might then dispose of one moiety, and the other went to his children; and so e converso if he had no children, the wife was entitled to one moiety, and he might bequeath the other; but if he died without either wife or issue, the whole was at his own disposal. Glanv. 1. 2, c. 6;, Bract. 1. 2, c. 26. The shares of the wife and children were called their reasonable part. 2 Bl. Comm. 491-2. See Death's part; Falcidian law.

References in periodicals archive ?
The "power to dispose" has become increasingly important over time, especially in the area of forced heirship, where it may significantly affect the rights of a forced heir. It is now clear that the grant of such power to a surviving spouse who has a usufruct over property that is part of a forced heir's legitime does not constitute an impingement on the legitime.
The rules may be a matter of public policy where the naked owner is a forced heir and the usufruct applies to property that is part of his legitime.
They are solutions, but not perfect solutions in the sense that "one size fits all." A testator may prefer a different result from the legislatively adopted result, and, if so, he may be well advised to fashion his own remedy when he is able to do so (e.g., where the naked owner is not a forced heir).
(126) The forced portion is one-quarter of the estate if the decedent has one forced heir and one-half if he has more than one forced heir, except that an heir's forced portion cannot exceed his intestate portion.
(143) Additionally, a person must not be mentally incompetent or "proved to be unfit for appointment because of bad moral character." (144) An executor named by the testator need not provide security unless required by the testament or compelled by a surviving spouse, forced heir, or creditor.
As a forced heir, a surviving spouse is entitled to a portion of the estate in usufruct.
A forced heir could lose his inheritance if found unworthy to succeed to a portion of the estate or if the testator disinherits him.
A: The compulsory heir is entitled to have the donation set aside in so far as inofficious: i.e., in excess of the portion of free disposal (Civil Code of 1889, Articles 636, 645), computed as provided in Articles 818 and 819, and bearing in mind that collationable gifts' under Article 818 should include gifts made not only in favor of the forced heirs, but even those made in favor of strangers in computing the legitimes, the value of the property donated should be considered part of the donor's estate.
They claimed that as grandchildren of Patricia's sister, they were the only surviving forced heirs of Patricia.
In France, the individual's power of testamentary disposition is limited to a portion of his property, the disposable portion (quotite disponible).(73) On his death, the rest of his property, the reserved portion (reserve hereditaire) devolves without regard to his wishes upon the persons prescribed by law, the forced heirs. The size of the reserved portion depends on whether the individual is survived by descendants or ascendants.
For the purpose of calculating the disposable and reserved portions and the entitlements of the forced heirs, the actual estate left by the deceased individual is grossed up by the amount of all gifts made in his lifetime.
If the actual estate is sufficient to cover the entitlements of the forced heirs, legacies granted by will may be paid from the excess, and lifetime gifts are safe from claw-back.