Was It a Workaround?

In his early 19th century will, a Maryland ancestor appears to disinherit a daughter when he leaves everything to her two children and appoints a guardian for them.

The man writing the will might have not so much been disinheriting the daughter as he was avoiding a son-in-law. In the very early 1800s, when this will was written, a man would be able to exercise control over real property that his wife inherited. By leaving the real estate to his daughter’s children, and appointing a guardian, the testator was providing for the children while circumventing the son-in-law.

And you thought that only people today who had to use creative ways to get around things.


3 thoughts on “Was It a Workaround?

  1. Kat

    My ancestor hated his son-in-law so much that in his will he wrote that this man was not to have any part of the inheritance he was leaving to the daughter. Not sure why this was so, but the children had previously sued for their share of their deceased mother’s interest in the property. This was in the 1850’s in Louisiana, a community property state. Perhaps this son-in-law was the instigator of that law suit.

    1. michaeljohnneill Post author

      That could be what happened–particularly if the children were minors. Sometimes the writer of the will would name a guardian for the children to oversee inheritance–even if both parents were living. That’s what one of mine did in 1817 in Maryland.


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