Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Article on Will Practices of Gays and Lesbians

MonkDaniel Monk recently published an article entitled, 'Inheritance Families of Choice'? Lawyers' Reflection on Gay and Lesbian Wills, Journal of Law & Society, Vol. 43, Issue 2, pp. 167–94 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

            This article presents the findings of research about the will‐writing practices of gays and lesbians. It develops a conversation between sociological literature about ‘families of choice’, which is silent about inheritance, and socio‐legal research about ‘inheritance families’, which is relatively silent about sexuality. It demonstrates how research with lawyers can contribute to thinking about inheritance and complement historical archives about personal life and sexuality. Focusing on funeral rites, partners, ex‐lovers, friendships, children and godchildren, and birth families, the findings reveal how gay men and lesbians have used wills to communicate kinship practices in ways that both converge with and differ from conventional testamentary practices. Examining the findings through the concepts of generationality, family display, connectedness, and ordinariness, and locating them within the recent history of social and legal changes, it complicates and troubles both anti‐normative and individualistic readings of the choices gay and lesbians make in constructing their ‘inheritance families’.


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