Pugliese, M., Belleau, H. et Biron-Boileau, C. (2022). Conjugal testamentary practices in Canada: The gendered effect of children from other unions. Journal of Marriage and Family, 85(1), 134-152.
This article explores the conjugal testamentary practices of married and cohabiting people aged 25–50 depending on having children from other unions, shared children, and gender.
After the death of a partner, inheriting may reduce adverse financial consequences for the surviving spouse. However, the deceased’s will defines whether or not the spouse inherits. Moreover, unmarried people may be less likely than the married to include their partner as one of their heirs, and parents (especially mothers) of children from previous unions may hesitate to bequeath to their current partner. Yet, conjugal testamentary practices remain understudied.
Using data from Québec, Canada (N = 3052) and controlling for socio-demographic factors, multinomial models explore the will status of cohabiting and married people and the position of partners as heirs depending on children situation and gender.
Although most married people count their current partner as one of their heirs, only a minority of cohabitors do so. Also, cohabiting people with children from previous unions are less likely than those without to make their current partner an heir, especially if the couple has no shared children. In contrast, married women with children from previous unions are as likely as those without to include their spouse among their heirs, and married men are more likely to do so if they have children from a different union.
Results support the hypotheses of a matrilineal tilt in wealth transmissions as stepfamilies diffuse and of a “swapping families” effect of remarriage for men.