Inheritance  

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"The growth of the idea of property, and the rise of monogamy, furnished motives sufficiently powerful to demand and obtain [a] change in order to bring children into the gens of their father, and into a participation in the inheritance of his estate. Monogamy assured the paternity of children; which was unknown when the gens was instituted, and the exclusion of children from the inheritance was no longer possible. "--from Lewis H. Morgan's Ancient Society.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Inheritance is the practice of passing on property, titles, debts, rights and obligations upon the death of an individual. It represents also to pass a characteristic, genetically. It has long played an important role in human societies. The rules of inheritance differ between societies and have changed over time.

History

Detailed studies have been made in the Anthropological and sociological customs of patrilineal succession, also known as gavelkind, where only male children can inherit. Some cultures also employ matrilineal succession only passing property along the female line. Other practices include primogeniture, under which all property goes to the eldest child, specifically it is often the eldest son, or ultimogeniture, in which everything is left to the youngest child. Some ancient societies and most modern states employ partible inheritance, under which every child inherits (usually equally).

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Inheritance" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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