Enduring Love? Attitudes to Family and Inheritance Law in England and Wales

27 Pages Posted: 4 May 2011

See all articles by Gillian Douglas

Gillian Douglas

The Dickson Poon School of Law

Hilary Woodward

Cardiff University - Cardiff Law School

Alun Humphrey

National Centre for Social Research (NatCen)

Lisa Mills

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Gareth Morrell

National Centre for Social Research (NatCen)

Date Written: June 1, 2011

Abstract

This paper reports on the findings from a large-scale study of public attitudes to inheritance law, particularly the rules on intestacy. It argues that far from the assumption that the family' is in terminal decline, people in England and Wales still view their most important relationships, at least for the purposes of inheritance law, as centred on a narrow, nuclear family model. However, there is also widespread acceptance of re-partnering and cohabitation, producing generally high levels of support for including cohabitants in the intestacy rules and for ensuring that children from former relationships are protected. We argue that these views are underpinned by a continuing sense of responsibility to the members of one's nuclear family, arising from notions of sharing and commitment, dependency and support, and a sense of lineage.

Suggested Citation

Douglas, Gillian and Woodward, Hilary and Humphrey, Alun and Mills, Lisa and Morrell, Gareth, Enduring Love? Attitudes to Family and Inheritance Law in England and Wales (June 1, 2011). Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 245-271, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1830933 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2011.00542.x

Gillian Douglas

The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand Campus
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom
+44 (0)2078481367 (Phone)

Hilary Woodward

Cardiff University - Cardiff Law School ( email )

PO Box 427
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3AX
United Kingdom

Alun Humphrey

National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) ( email )

London EC1V OAX
United Kingdom

Lisa Mills

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Gareth Morrell

National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) ( email )

London EC1V OAX
United Kingdom

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