The Connection Between Unintentional Intestacy and Urban Poverty

8 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2014

Date Written: August 22, 2012


Most people think of estate planning and testamentary freedom as issues for the rich and middle class, but there is much to learn about inheritance patterns in lower economic populations. This Essay examines the connection between urban poverty and decedents who failed to appreciate the consequences of dying intestate (without a will). Unintended intestacy causes wealth to fractionate, a problem of particular concern when a decedent owned real property in which surviving family members reside. For individuals near or below the poverty line, the unexpected loss of an anticipated inheritance by an intended beneficiary can cause devastating social and economic consequences. This is especially true for intended beneficiaries forced to vacate the decedent’s home.

Keywords: intestacy, estate planning, poverty, wills, urban

Suggested Citation

Weisbord, Reid K., The Connection Between Unintentional Intestacy and Urban Poverty (August 22, 2012). Rutgers Law Review (Commentary, Aug. 22, 2012); Rutgers School of Law-Newark Research Paper No. 138. Available at SSRN:

Reid K. Weisbord (Contact Author)

Rutgers Law School ( email )

Newark, NJ
United States


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