Religiously Inspired Gender-Bias Disinheritance – What’s Law Got to Do with It?
College of Law and Business
January 1, 2010
Creighton Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 3, p. 669, 2010
There are several religious groups that order a specific distribution of the estate, which includes disinheritance of daughters in favor of sons. A testator’s choice to follow this rule presents a fascinating intersection of conflicting values, world-views, and belief systems. In this Article, I examine the legal treatment of such bequests, and present different solutions from different inheritance law systems. I review three types of systems, Continental law of forced heirship, family provision jurisdictions, and testamentary freedom systems. I claim that deciding these cases is ultimately connected to a legal system’s perception of inheritance. In several systems this function includes recognizing a child’s interest in belonging to the family. If we understand inheritance as communicating a message regarding a child’s belongingness to her family, then gender bias disinheritance should be reviewed with caution. In testamentary freedom systems, the question seems to be quite simple as such a distribution is well within the testator’s prerogative. However, I suggest a more intricate analysis based on the doctrine of public policy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: Inheritance, Gender, Religion, Property, Family, Belonging, Continuity
Date posted: October 8, 2010