The New International Encyclopædia/Legitim

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LEGITIM (Fr. légitime, from Lat. legitimus, lawful), or Bairn's Part. In Scotch law, the legal provision which a child is entitled to out of the movable or personal estate of the deceased father. In Scotland a father is not allowed wholly to disinherit his children. If a wife and children survive, the movable estate is divided into three equal parts, one of which is preserved to the children. If only children survive, and not the wife, then half the personal estate is legitim, the other half being called ‘dead's part,’ and being devisable by the father at his pleasure. Though a father may, in his lifetime, without any check from his children, squander his property, still he is not allowed on his deathbed to make gifts so as to lessen the fund which will supply legitim. The legitim is claimable by all the children who survive the father, but not by the issue of those children who have predeceased. It is immaterial what the age of the child may be, and whether married or not. Children claiming legitim must, however, give credit for any provision or advance made by the father out of his movable estate in his lifetime. All the children, though of different marriages, share equally in the legitim. The principle of the legitim does not exist at the common law, but it obtains in Louisiana and in all the modern States whose legal systems are derived from that of the civil law. See Inofficious Testament.