Experts estimate that eighty percent of household wealth is inherited, and the average American who died in 2015 left approximately $177,000 to his or her family.
Harry L. Munsinger, a lawyer practicing in Texas, explores the history of inheritance law in this fascinating book. Topics include:
- English laws of succession, which evolved to favor wealthy families by passing real estate and family titles to the eldest surviving son. In contrast, the American colonies developed a democratic system of inheritance where land was divided equally among all the sons.
- Goals of early inheritance laws, which were to keep ancestral lands in the family and to determine who would take the land when a father died.
- Ways American laws of succession followed English common law during the colonial period and then developed variations more suited to America's social and economic needs after the colonies won their independence from Britain.
The author also highlights how any interested party can allege a defect in the execution of a will, how trusts were developed by courts of equity to avoid the rigid rules of English common law governing legal title and use of real property, and how families can safely and effectively transfer wealth.