This article first discusses the distribution of wealth generally and on whether our law of inheritance in fact serves to reproduce the social structure. The author sets forth two race neutral proposals for reform of inheritance law to break up the cycle that perpetuates White advantage and Black disadvantage. The first proposal calls for taxing inheritances—windfall wealth—as income to those who receive them. The second focuses on revising intestacy law to preserve modest wealth between generations.
This study investigates "whether race and ethnicity moderated the associations of bequest expectations to leave an inheritance and charitable giving with having a valid will among older Americans... Our findings reveal novel racial and ethnic disparities in engagement in estate planning among older adults and suggest alternative means are needed to promote interest in estate planning in later life depending on one's racial and ethnic background."
This article reviews examples of what the authors call "critical trusts and estates scholarship " and considers how the development and enforcement of current laws of wills, trusts and estates negatively impacts historically disempowered peoples.
This article turns to antebellum and postwar will contests between disinherited white heirs and mixed-race devisees to question the role of courts in defining “family” and the expectancy of collaterals to uphold this limitation. While other studies separately examined the myth of testamentary freedom and argued for the legitimacy of diverse families, scholars have paid less attention to the color of inheritance. Drawing on Cheryl Harris’s groundbreaking work in critical race theory and property, this Article illustrates the centrality of whiteness in the validation of testamentary transfers.
This lecture primarily aims to use doctrines in wills and trusts law as the yardstick with which to measure the Kingdom of the Fathers. The author shows that wills and trusts law has always and continues to operate to preserve and sustain patriarchal power.
This blog post discusses Bernie D. Jones’s new book, "Fathers of Conscience: Mixed Race Inheritance in the Antebellum South" (Univ. of Georgia Press 2009). The author provides her own opinions in her discussion of how Jones tells the story of white male slaveholders who used trusts and estates law to grant freedom and/or property to their enslaved mixed-race children and their mothers, thereby circumventing the law of slavery.
This case demonstrates how "the Washington courts considered whether judicial decisions affording some of the property rights associated with marriage to "meretricious" relationships (where a couple cohabits outside of marriage) should be extended to cover a surviving same-sex partner of a decedent who died." (Crawford and Infanti at 339).