Friday, September 8, 2017
Paula A. Monopoli recently posted an Article entitled, 'Deadbeat Dads': Should Support and Inheritance Be Linked?, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal. Provided below is an abstract of the Article:
American inheritance law is based predominantly on status within the family—individuals inherit from relatives simply because they are linked by blood or adoption. Children do not have to be "well-behaved" to take from their parents under intestacy statutes and generally, unworthy heirs are not punished by forfeiture of their inheritance. In other words, American inheritance law is a status-based system rather than a behavior-based system. Most states do not require good behavior to inherit; nor, absent murder, do they prevent anyone from taking from an intestate relative. Should a parent who abandons a child forfeit his or her inheritance? Should we use the law of succession to achieve a goal other than the simple reallocation of a decedent's property at death? In other words, should we adopt a behavior-based model of succession rather than the status-based model which prevails in most states? This article explores those normative questions and evaluates the costs and benefits of shifting from a status-based model to a behavior-based model of inheritance.
Special thanks to Robert H. Sitkoff (John L. Gray Professor of Law, Harvard Law School) for bringing this article to my attention.