Hastings Women’s Law Journal


The Evolution of Women's Rights in Inheritance explores the period shortly after the passage of the Married Women's Property Acts, when women had increasing economic power and, in many jurisdictions, the right to execute wills without their husbands' consent. Through original research and comparisons with earlier and later studies, the author discovered ways in which women differed significantly from men. In addition, the author found an astonishing amount of litigation, including will contests, objections to accounts, and actions to quiet title in over twenty percent of the wills. This study fills in gaps in the legal literature in women's history in the nineteenth century and provides original research in a field with few such studies.