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Inheritance and Succession, Sociology Of

As have other countries, the United States has experienced major changes in family structure since the mid-1960s. This entry examines and compares the ways in which American states are changing their inheritance laws to meet the needs of the evolving family. It also traces briefly the recent movement in the law of wills from rigid formalism toward a more intent-effectuating approach used in some other parts of the world.

In recent decades, people in the United States often marry two or more times, cohabit without marriage in committed partnerships, and parent children with different partners. Blended families constitute a substantial part of U.S. family life. States are redesigning the traditional default rules of inheritance law to reflect new developments in these spousal, committed-partner, and parent-child relationships. ...

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