Wills, Inheritance and Families

Wills, Inheritance and Families

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The Issue of how assets are distributed after death is of increasing significance for larger numbers of people. In this original and path-breaking study, the authors examine the principle means through which people plan to dispose of their assets after death: by the use of wills. By offering an empirical study of 800 English wills, the book identifies significant patterns of bequeathing among a cross-section of the population, and not just among those sections of society who enjoy substantial wealth. This leads us to focus upon what wills tell us about the family and kin relationships, and upon how people transmit their assets across generations: to their families and to institutions and organizations.

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  • Hardback | 200 pages
  • 146.8 x 221 x 20.6mm | 435.46g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Clarendon Press
  • OxfordUnited Kingdom
  • English
  • line figures, tables
  • 0198258348
  • 9780198258346
  • 1,062,323

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Review quote

the work undoubtedly strengthens a weak area of socio-legal research / Elizabeth Kingdom, University of Liverpool / Social and Legal Studies, Vol 8/1

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Back cover copy

Who leaves what to whom? English law allows testators considerable freedom to decide on how to dispose of property through their wills. But what choices do people actually make about who the beneficiaries of their property will be, and what to give to whom? Does everything normally go to close family? Which family members? Are women and men treated equally? Do different types of testator make different types of wills? This book presents a detailed analysis of patterns of formal bequeathing, based on a study of probated wills over the last forty years. It also provides an overview of the significance of wills as a means of transmitting property.

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