Family Values and the Law of Inheritance
Socioeconomic Review, Vol. 7, p. 145, 2009
6 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2009
Date Written: February 3, 2009
This review essay examines Jens Beckert's new book, Inherited Wealth, which shows how values of liberty, equality, family, and economic prosperity recurred in debates conducted across three countries and three centuries. The review essay suggests that modern-day Washington lobbyists are not alone in invoking family values to oppose limitations on inheritance. The historical debates are full of claims about how different inheritance law regimes support or undermine the family - even as conceptions of the family and its personal and political meanings have changed. The essay offers three examples: the abolition of entails, the evolution of testamentary freedom, and the law of intestacy.
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