Legitimate Concerns: BVI Status of Children Act, 2014

The majority of offshore jurisdictions have long provided for equality in the legal rights and status of legitimate and ‘illegitimate’ children where trusts, estates and wills are concerned. As of 31 October 2014, the BVI joined such jurisdictions, instituting the Status of Children Act, 2014 (the Act), which effectively nullifies the use of ‘legitimate’ or ‘illegitimate’ and ‘lawful’ or ‘unlawful’ as terms determining the status, rights, privileges and obligations of any child.

Formerly, BVI succession rules for the estates of persons who died intestate distinguished between children born in and out of wedlock, disallowing nearly all inheritance rights to an ‘illegitimate’ child.1 The Act now remedies that situation and, where the paternity of a child is admitted or established, they will be treated in the same manner as a legitimate child under the rules of inheritance, and will benefit equally.

To learn more about the changes and impact of the BVI Status of Children Act, 2014, please access the PDF, here.

This article was first published in the WWW.STEP.ORG Journal, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 Edition.

Contact the author, Marianne Cave, by email at mcave@onealwebster.com.

O'Neal Webster is a leading offshore law firm in the British Virgin Islands providing superior legal services to clients globally. The firm is a member of Lex Mundi, the world's largest association of independent law firms.

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