Copyright (c) 2003 Emory University School of Law
Emory Law Journal
COMMENT: A LOOK AT THE RIGHTS AND ENTITLEMENTS OF POSTHUMOUSLY CONCEIVED CHILDREN: NO SUREFIRE WAY TO TAME THE REPRODUCTIVE WILD WESTn1
52 Emory L.J. 963
Margaret Ward Scott*
The January 2, 2002 decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Woodward v. Commissioner of Social Securityn2 propelled the issue of posthumous conception into the public consciousness ... again. Media outlets reported that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court had resolved the inheritance status of children conceived after the death of a parent. n3 For example, the Associated Press called it a landmark decision, declaring that "children conceived artificially after a husband dies are entitled to the same inheritance rights as naturally conceived children." n4 The front page of the January 3, 2002 Boston Globe carried the headline: "Those conceived posthumously can be legal heirs." n5 These reports, however, are misleading and belie the narrow and qualified conclusion reached by the Woodward court.
To be sure, the 2002 Woodward opinion is the most recent case in the news, but the issues surrounding it are not. In fact, only twenty months prior to the decision in Woodward, the Superior Court of Morris County, New Jersey decided In re Estate of Kolacy, ruling essentially the same way on nearly identical facts.n6 Woodward and Kolacy are just the latest reminders that posthumous conception is not just going to go away. Far from resolving the inheritance and entitlement status of posthumously conceived children, this Comment will argue that the only ground broken by the latest jurisprudence was the refocusing of a number of unanswered questions that surrounds posthumous conception. By qualifying their opinions with limiting circumstances and specific facts, n7 ...
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