Parents, Children and Property in the Late Eighteenth Century Chancery
Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 32, No. 4, 2012
44 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 8, 2012
The late eighteenth century court of Chancery established a balance between the respective interests of parents and their children in the family’s property. The court required parents, especially fathers, to themselves provide for the maintenance and education of their minor children, even where money was made available for these purposes from a non-parental source. It prevented parents from intercepting gifts given to their children by third parties. It permitted parents, however, to make their children's entitlements to marriage portions conditional, for children marrying before majority, on the children's choice of spouse being consented to by a parent or parental surrogate. Chancery’s overall intergenerational policy was notably anti-dynastic: it made sure that younger generations, specifically those just reaching adulthood, marriage and parenthood, were endowed with sufficient property to give them at least a measure of independence from their elders, and some power over their own children.
Keywords: trusts, family, parents, parenting, children, property, trust law, legacies, bequests, succession, gifts, England, Chancery, English law
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