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Conflict of Laws in Legitimacy,

When litigation involving the right to succession calls for the application of principles of conflict of laws, the almost universal judicial reaction is to refer to the law at the situs in the case of land9 and to the law at the domicil of the decedent at the time of death in the case of movables.I ° Under the laws of descent and distribution as they exist in the different states, heirship may depend entirely upon the legitimate character of the claimant or legitimacy may carry with it a preferred standing. Establishment of legitimacy may, therefore, become important in that it may be the means by which the claimant can acquire an identification tag that will permit him to participate in the distribution of a decedent’s estate. Since the matter of heirship is involved in this type of litigation, there is no logical reason why the usual formulae applicable to succession on death to movable and immovable property should not be employed to ascertain whether the claimant comes within the proper description of legitimate heir so that, were it thought to be desirable or expedient to do so, legitimacy could be made to depend upon the law at the decedent’s domicil in the case of distribution of movables and upon the law at the situs in the case of descent of land. A court sitting at the actual location of property has the power to determine who is entitled to receive it through succession on death, and a decision by it that a claimant must wear the badge of legitimacy as locally defined would, insofar as it affects title to local property, have to be recognized as effective elsewhere.Y