Like real life medieval times, my fantasy world of Gradaia has its own views and laws regarding inheritance and bastardy. With bastardy, even though children would be illegitimate and having them would be regarded as a social disgrace, they would still be part of a noble family’s line of succession. For example, if one parent’s last name is more prestigious than the other, then the illegitimate children would inherit that parent’s last name and become part of that family’s line of succession. If a noble dies and leaves no legitimate heirs from their own blood, then one of the illegitimates are chosen through an election. Depending on how far in the line of succession they are in, illegitimates have the option to break off from the main bloodline to form cadet branches with their own wealth, titles, and lands. The way Gradaian bastards inherit is similar to how William the Conqueror became Duke of Normandy. When the previous Duke of Normandy died without a legitimate heir, his illegitimate son, William, became his successor.
Another aspect of inheritance that is focused on gender. In real life medieval times, male heirs were preferable over female ones. However, in Gradaia, the laws of inheritance favor the eldest heir regardless of gender. If a wife’s last name is more prestigious than her husband’s, then her children and husband will inherit her last name.