Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Article: The Haunting of Wealth Law

Allison Tait (University of Richmond School of Law) recently published, The Haunting of Wealth Law, ACTEC Law Journal, VOLUME 49, Number 1, Fall 2023 (pub 1/24). Provided below is an Abstract:

“If I am getting ready to speak at length about ghosts, inheritance, and generations, generations of ghosts, which is to say about certain others who are not present, nor presently living, either to us, in us, or outside us, it is in the name of justice.” -Jacque Derrida, Specters of Marx

 Wealth law is full of ghosts, ghosts everywhere all at once. AS a form of both preservation and disruption, a form of continuance as well as a form of interruption, ghosts are reminders of the past in its multiple forms. But they are also figures that prompt consideration of the present as well as speculation about the future. Jacques Derrida, who suggested the idea of “hauntology,” posited haunting and the ghostly as being “time out of joint,” a reference to Hamlet’s confused cry upon seeing his father’s ghost that Derrida analyzes extensively. In this sense, ghosts are akin to inheritance, a legal schema in which the past persists into both present and future. Like ghosts, inheritance and wealth transfer laws represent ruptures in time, enabling the destabilization presence of the past alongside the various possibilities for the present and future…



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