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Social Security Survivor’s Benefits and Kids Conceived After a Parent’s Death

Posted by Sasha Golden | May 22, 2012 | 0 Comments

In a unanimous decision today, the Supreme Court made it clear that in deciding whether a child born well after a parent's death as a result of artificial insemination or surrogacy, the law governing what happens to you assets after you pass away without a will shall determine if the child has the right to receive Social Security Survivor's Benefits. The Court ordered that if state law explicitly says that the child conceived after a parent's death does not have a right to inherit, then he is not eligible to receive Social Security Survivor's Benefits off of the deceased parent's work record.

Although there are currently over 100 cases of this nature pending before the Social Security Administration, this decision may not be all that helpful, because most states' intestacy statutes simply don't address the possibility of conception after death. Mind you, the technique of freezing sperm for future use has been around since the 1960s, but many state legislatures have not caught up to the issue of the rights of inheritance of children conceived in this way after the father' s death. It's an interesting issue to watch.

About the Author

Sasha Golden

Alexandra “Sasha” Golden received her undergraduate and law degrees from Boston College, and has been practicing law in Massachusetts since 1994. Attorney Golden is a long-standing member of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and of the Probate and So...


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