Legitime

From Academic Kids

In civil and Roman law, the legitime, or forced share, of a decedent's estate is that portion of the estate from which he cannot disinherit his children, or his parents, without sufficient legal cause. The word comes from French héritier legitime, meaning "rightful heir."

At common law, there is no legitime; the Statute of Wills, 32 Hen. VIII c. 1, provided for the unfettered distribution of a decedent's entire estate; a testator is entitled to disinherit any and all of his children, for any reason and for no reason. Most jurisdictions in the United States have enacted statutes that prohibit a testator from disinheriting a spouse, or provided that in the event of such an will the spouse may elect to "take against the will" and claim a statutory share of a decedent's estate. This is done as a substitute for the common law rights of dower and curtesy.

In Louisiana, up until recently, the situation was different. In Louisiana the legitime operated to prevent a parent from wholly disinheriting his children, who were called forced heirs. If there was one child, that child must receive at least 25% of the decedent's estate. If there were two or more children, they must receive at least 50% of it among themselves. Similar provisions prevented a decedent with living parents from disinheriting them.

Current Louisiana law provides for a forced share if the decedent's children are under 24 years of age, or are permanently unable to take care of themselves.

External links

The Louisiana Civil Code (http://www.findlaw.com/11stategov/la/civilcode2.html) on Successions

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