Publication Date


Document Type

Survey Article


Inheritance by, from, and through illegitimates. Two relatively recent decisions of the United States Supreme Court, Trimble v. Gordon and Lalli v. Lalli, prompted legislation which greatly enlarged the rights of illegitimates to inherit property in Georgia. The first of these cases struck down an Illinois statute on the ground that it was overly broad in distinguishing the rights of inheritance by legitimates from those of illegitimates. The latter case upheld a New York statute distinguishing those rights. While all members of the court in Lalli could not agree that the two cases were reconcilable, the majority seemed to say that the validity of such a statute turns on whether it is substantially related to some permissible state interest, such as the safeguarding of the orderly disposition of property and the protection of estates against false claims of paternity and other spurious claims. Under this reasoning the New York statute was upheld and the Illinois statute was struck down.