Death, Money and the Vultures: Inheritance and Avarice, 1660-1750 - Hardcover
In the latter half of the 17th century, the practice of drawing up a will became commonplace, and people were increasingly encouraged to set down their final wishes in a "last will and testament". Although intended to clarify the ownership question, however, these documents often provoked avarice, conflict and hatred among survivors of the testator. As this book shows, where there was a will, there was money - and where there was money, there were relatives. Drawing from information gathered from the close study of some 430 wills, the author of this book reveals the attitudes and morals of those who refused to accept the word of the will, and set out to dispute it. In the age of industrialization, these disputes often tore apart families of the emerging middle classes, to whom money and possessions were increasingly important. Frequently, elaborate funerals, at which entertainment was often on a lavish scale, merely served as precursors for volatile family confrontation after the reading of the will. Addy cites numerous cases in which wives question their deceased husband's mental ability to draw up a will and disillusioned siblings who turn against each other to make void their father's last wishes.
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- Publication date1992
- ISBN 10 0415050316
- ISBN 13 9780415050319
- Number of pages240