Illegitimate children’s rights have been safeguarded and officially recognised in South Africa. Legal distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate offspring were eliminated by the Children’s Act of 2005, ensuring that all children are accorded the same inheritance rights. 

An illegitimate child has the right to claim his father’s estate if his after is deceased and he is his illegitimate child. If the father left a will and included the client as a beneficiary or legatee in the will, he would have a valid claim to the inheritance in terms of the will. 

The child may still be able to claim from the estate if he was left out of the will or the parent passed away without leaving a will. According to the “adequate provision” principle recognised by South African law, the child may be eligible to receive money from the estate if he/she can demonstrate that he/she was financially reliant on the father or that he/she had a duty to care for the deceased. 

In cases where paternity is in question, the client must present proof that the deceased was the child’s father, such as DNA results or other pertinent records. Speaking with an attorney specialising in a deceased estate is advisable to grasp the legal choices available fully. 


Remembering that laws and regulations might change over time is crucial, so speaking with a legal expert who can provide you with the most current and correct information, depending on your unique circumstances, is always advisable. Contact an Attorney at SchoemanLaw Inc. for all your legal needs!