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Common practice, or favoritism?

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    Common practice, or favoritism?

    I've a will in the family where the father died, leaving a widow and four adult children. At the time of his death the two elder daughters were married, and the younger daughter & (youngest) son were single. Each child received a small equal amount of money. The widow received the personal effects, and all income from the farm "if she shall so long continue my widow" or until her death, at which time the land was divided 4/5ths to the son & 1/5 to the unmarried daughter. I can see leaving the farm or majority of the estate to a son, but why include only one daughter? Does anyone know if this would have been common practice, given the two elder daughters were married? Or, I wonder if it was because the youngest daughter was a favorite? This was a family of English descent in the early 1900's.

    The thing is we don't always know if the married daughters had received a settlement at the time of their marriage. I do have wills where it is all spelled out and says how much Martha has already received so that's why she is getting less!

    On the other hand I have wills which apparently leave out altogether the married daughters. Some people think they have been "cut off" but I don't think we can assume that unless it actually says (as one of mine does) XXX was so badly behaved (words to that effect) that he is only getting one shilling.



      Anne is right - some of the elder children, especially the eldest son or daughters upon marriage, frequently benefitted from their father's generosity before the final settlement of the will. I have now transcribed many wills, and some explicity state this.
      You can't assume that someone has been unfairly treated on the basis of the will, unless it is explicity stated.
      Research Interests:
      England:Purkis, Stilwell, Quintrell, White (Surrey - Guildford), Jeffcoat, Bond, Alexander, Lamb, Newton (Lincolnshire, Stalybridge, London)
      Scotland:Richardson (Banffshire), Wishart (Kincardineshire), Johnston (Kincardineshire)


        I have one lady with ten siblings. She was left more money than all the rest put together, because she was the only one unmarried. Presumably the others had had their share on marriage and anyway, were considered well provided for.



          Hopefully the married daughters had husbands who would house, feed and clothe them and make provision for their upkeep until their death. The unmarried daughter was at the mercy of her brother to provide for her. Sometimes too a daughter was singled out for special provision because she suffered from some handicap and was unlikely to marry and have a husband to provide for her.
          Janet in Yorkshire

          Genealogists never die - they just swap places in the family tree


            i agree with janet, in this case, it is likely the daughter is mentioned because she is unmarried and has no husband to provide for her.


              I recently "inherited" a wonderful document drawn up by my "loaded" great-great-grandfather in the 1850-1880 period. He had several children and hand-wrote a beautiful leather-bound living will for each of them. It gives a potted history of his life, lists all their marriages, deaths etc, and then for each of them sets out how much he has already given them.
              Uncle John


                Oh Wow! What a treasure Uncle John! I'm trilled for you.

                Thanks all for your responses. I was thinking there was some favoritism involved and am rather glad to hear chances are reasonable this was not be the case.


                  I think it was pretty common for money to be left to the son(s), with some provision made for an unmarried daughter.

                  I think it was assumed that a married daughter was now the responsibility of her husband ............ note that it was still within the period when women were the "property" of their fathers or husbands, and the male usually had control of any monies.

                  In addition, an unmarried daughter was very often the one left unmarried because it had been determined that she would be the one to look after the parents until their death ......... that may have been something she wished to do, or that was wished upon her.

                  It even occurred quite recently.

                  My father died in 1970, and left a form of will (which was not legally drawn up) in which he left everything to my brother, with instructions that I was to be taken care of financially in the event that I was still in university and/or unmarried

                  Brother, now dead, was over 10 years older than me, and I was married and living in Canada by 1970 ............ so we had a good laugh about it.

                  I took what I wanted from the house, no questions about what I was taking asked by him, and left him to sell it and settle the estate.

                  We eventually shared equally whatever money was left after all debts and bills had been paid.
                  My grandmother, on the beach, South Bay, Scarborough, undated photo (poss. 1929 or 1930)

                  Researching Cadd, Schofield, Cottrell in Lancashire, Buckinghamshire; Taylor, Park in Westmorland; Hayhurst in Yorkshire, Westmorland, Lancashire; Hughes, Roberts in Wales.


                    It's good to hear that unmarried daughters were taken care of to some extent. In this case I always figured the married sisters were considered to be the responsibility of their then husbands.

                    It's also nice to hear about an estate being settled amicably Sylvia. We see/hear so much of the other kind. What you describe above is similar to my own father's situation. His father, John, held all titles in his name with the intent that when he died his son/my father, John, would simply inherit or take over everything because the names were identical. I can't see it working today, but it did in 1937. My Dad looked after his mother until she died a few years later, then sold the houses, and evenly split the proceeds with his only sister. He continued to help her with significant purchases for the rest of her life though, as he still felt it was wrong that she 'inherited' nothing.