Posthumous Child

Posthumous Child

An infant who is born subsequent to the death of the father or, in certain cases, the mother.

At Common Law and by the laws of various states, governing Descent and Distribution, a posthumous child inherits from a deceased parent's estate as an heir provided that the infant is born alive following a gestation period that shows that the child was conceived prior to the death of the father who has died intestate. Under some statutes, it is necessary that the child be born within a ten-month period subsequent to the intestate father's death in order for the infant to be considered a posthumous child.

Laws addressing a posthumous child are rapidly becoming obsolete as medical advances extend the time period over which Reproduction can occur. For example, sperm and eggs may be preserved in a frozen state past the lives of their donors. It is also possible to remove sperm or eggs, or perform a Caesarian section, after a person's death. Scholars and scientists anticipate the development of additional ways for genetic material to be preserved, and children to be born, after the death of the biological parent. These developments create new legal problems and are likely to necessitate changes for laws in several areas, including survivors' benefits, inheritance, and support.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

POSTHUMOUS CHILD. after the death of its father; or, when the Caesarian operation is performed, after that of the mother.
     2. Posthumous children are entitled to take by descent as if they had been born at the time of their deceased ancestor. When a father has made a will without providing for a posthumous child, such a will is in some states, as in Pennsylvania, revoked pro tanto by implication. 4 Kent, Com. 506; Dig. 28, 5, 92; Ferriere, Com. h.t.; Domat, Lois Civiles, part 2 ' liv. 2, t. 1, s. 1: Merl. Rep. h.t.; 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 2158.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
I was a posthumous child. My father's eyes had closed upon the light of this world six months, when mine opened on it.
The Holy Prophet was the posthumous child, his father Abdullah having died shortly before he was born.
The bill will also allow posthumous child donors as well.
(66) Another revision implements a time frame for when a posthumous child must be born in order to be able to inherit--the child must either be "in utero not later than 36 months after the individual's death" or "born not later than 45 months after the individual's death." (67) Subject to these conditions, as long as the decedent has shown some sort of consent, the U.P.C.
The marriage of the birth mother to the decedent makes a strong case for treating the posthumous child as that of the husband if no divorce proceeding was pending at the time of death.
(235) Since it is not likely that a posthumous child, conceived with or without the consent or knowledge of her father, could meet any of this criteria, it is probably more appropriate to rely on the statutory definitions of qualifying child and thereby eliminate the requirement for actual dependency.
It questions the propriety and very possibility of ascertaining the "presumed wishes" of the deceased for a posthumous child. Finally, it argues against the presentation in the guidelines of posthumous sperm retrieval as a medical procedure and contends that, on the contrary, medicine and science are suborned to the exploitation of the dead.
Diane re-mortgaged her home when HFEA tried to stop her from using sperm taken from her dying husband Stephen's body without his written permission, in order to bear a posthumous child by him.
The Arkansas Supreme Court noted that state intestacy law required a posthumous child to be born after, but conceived before, the decedent's death to be able to inherit: "'Posthumous descendants of the intestate conceived before his or her death but born thereafter shall inherit in the same manner as if born in the lifetime of the intestate.'" (98) Yet could an embryo created with the decedent's genetic material before his death be deemed "conceived before his ...