The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in the case of Astrue v. Capato, No. 11-159, holding that children conceived after a parent’s death through the use of in vitro fertilization are not automatically entitled to survivor benefits under the Social Security law, depending, in part, on whether applicable state law would allow posthumously conceived children to inherit from a parent’s intestate estate (that is, who would inherit under state law if the parent does not have a Will).

New reproductive technology is changing the landscape of determining who qualifies as a child or descendant under the laws of inheritance.  For a more detailed explanation about how this evolving technology could affect your estate planning, see our blog post from September 6, 2011, How Reproductive Technology Can Affect Your Estate Plan in Unforeseen Ways.