Thursday, September 28, 2006

Question from Catherine - Tudor inheritance law

Could anybody clear up Tudor inheritance law for me, please? If a widowed nobleman with one daughter were to marry again, and his new wife were to have one son from a previous marriage, who would inherit on the man's death?

Many thanks!


Anonymous said...

I'm almost certain that the daughter (and her husband) would inherit everything from the nobleman. The stepson would only get the lands of his own father.

Anonymous said...

The question seems to assume that no will was written by either the man or his second wife. In the absence of a will, it could go either way depending on how each heir pursued it. But even if a will were written by both parties, the answer is not a simple one. Even if the man wrote a will leaving his property to his daughter, the son might sue for a portion of the property. Tudor English case law is packed full of such cases. Whether or not he would win would depend on a number of factors, especially his age and whether or not he or the daughter were married when the man died. If both were children when the man died, they would probably each get a piece of the inheritance. If the daughter were married but the boy still a child, the boy might get it all. But again, English law on this subject is not cut and dried. Even though cases like the one you describe are VERY common, the outcomes are as different as each individual case. It all depends on existence of a will, whether or not anyone contests the will, the ages and marital status of the children, etc. There is no simple A or B answer.

Anonymous said...

Lara, can you add this to the top of my previous comment, please? :
Liam is correct to the extent that the title of nobility could go to the daughter and possibly her husband fi she had one. The inheritance of a title of nobility in right of the wife was common. If, however, the daughter were unmarried (the question did not specify), the title might become extinct, as often happened. The title would not be inherited by the son of a wife from her previous marriage, however. But inheritance of title is not the same as inheritance of real property. The property might all go to the daughter, or might be split between the two, equally or unequally.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much - most helpful comments, and very swiftly responded to, as well!

I am a children's author about to embark on a new work set in the late 16th century, so it's probable that I'll be visiting this site often!

Thanks again.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Catherine! That's awesome. I would love to read you literature when it is finished. You should keep us posted.