St. Mary's Law Journal


The Texas Legislature should update its legislation pertaining to posthumously conceived children. More than 20,000 children are born from artificial insemination each year, some of whom are conceived following their father’s death. Whether or not these children are entitled to a share in their father’s estate is a question for each state legislature. Many states have adopted a version of the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA). The UPA states that once paternity of a posthumously conceived child is established, the child is entitled to inherit from the deceased’s estate. Texas has adopted the UPA in part and has added stringent requirements in order to prove the posthumously conceived child’s paternity. Texas mandates that a licensed physician note the child’s paternity in writing, and that the document be properly filed in the physician’s office. If the document is lost, a posthumously conceived child is not entitled to any of their father’s estate. The Texas Legislature must incorporate changes to existing statutes regarding posthumously conceived children. Because documentation proving paternity can be lost, Texas should no longer require physicians to keep the paper files. Instead, Texas should require the documentation to be properly filed in a court. Furthermore, the legislature should mandate a specific time limit from the death of the father to the conception of the child which restricts a claim from the deceased’s estate. Louisiana, for example, has a three year statute of limitations. A time limit is necessary to protect parties who have already received some of the father’s estate. Although Texas courts have yet to face many posthumous conception cases, legislators must proactivity modify current legislation in preparation for their inevitable arrival.


St. Mary's University School of Law