Jasmine Sadeghani Awarded Third Place in 2022 Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition
Pepperdine Caruso Law third-year student Jasmine Sadeghani has been awarded third place in the 2022 Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition sponsored by the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) for her article "Heir(ing) On the Side of Caution: Is California's Intestacy Statute Too Strict For Posthumous Children Seeking Social Security Benefits?" The prize includes publication in ACTEC's online law journal and a monetary award.
Summary of "Heir(ing) on the Side of Caution: Is California's Intestacy Statute Too Strict For Posthumous Children Seeking to Inherit Social Security Benefits?"
Many legislatures have not addressed the issue of inheritance for posthumously conceived children, which has created great inconsistencies amongst states. The variance in state intestacy laws is problematic because, as science is outpacing the law, many children are being conceived by assisted reproduction and other technological developments, which will exacerbate the already-existing issue of many posthumously conceived children not being afforded the same inheritance rights as all children. Although Congress is unlikely to have contemplated future advancements in posthumous conception when drafting the Social Security Act, it is prudent that state legislatures, such as California, address such advancements by reforming outdated and strict intestacy laws to provide more certainty to families. This article discusses California's strict compliance standard under its intestacy law regarding posthumously conceived children, advocates a more lenient standard to promote the best interests of all children, and presents other proposals legislatures may consider.