Falcidian Law Law and Legal Definition

Falcidian law or lex falcidia is a concept of Roman law whereby a testator was obliged to leave at least a fourth of his/her estate to the heir. It was enacted in 40 B.C by the people during the reign of Augustus on the proposition of Falcidius. Its principal provision gave power to fathers of families to bequeath three-fourths of their property, but deprived them of the power to give away the other fourth, which was to descend to the heir.

Louisiana adopted somewhat modified rule stating, donations inter vivos or mortis causal cannot exceed two-thirds of the property of the disposer, if he leaves at his decease a legitimate child; one-half if he leaves two children; and one-third if he leaves three or a greater number.

By the common law, the power of the father to give his property is unlimited. He may bequeath it to his children equally, to one in preference to another, or to a stranger in exclusion of the whole of them. Over his estate, his wife has a right of dower or a similar right given to her by act of assembly, in perhaps all the states.