Inheritance

Inheritance is the practice of passing on property, titles, debts, rights, and obligations upon the death of an individual. The rules of inheritance differ among societies and have changed over time.

William Hogarth - A Rake's Progress - Plate 1 - The Young Heir Takes Possession Of The Miser's Effects
From William Hogarth's A Rake's Progress. "The Young Heir Takes Possession Of The Miser's Effects".

Terminology

In law, an heir is a person who is entitled to receive a share of the deceased's (the person who died) property, subject to the rules of inheritance in the jurisdiction of which the deceased was a citizen or where the deceased (decedent) died or owned property at the time of death.

The inheritance may be either under the terms of a will or by intestate laws if the deceased had no will. However, the will must comply with the laws of the jurisdiction at the time it was created or it will be declared invalid (for example, some states do not recognize holographic wills as valid, or only in specific circumstances) and the intestate laws then apply.

A person does not become an heir before the death of the deceased, since the exact identity of the persons entitled to inherit is determined only then. Members of ruling noble or royal houses who are expected to become heirs are called heirs apparent if first in line and incapable of being displaced from inheriting by another claim; otherwise, they are heirs presumptive. There is a further concept of joint inheritance, pending renunciation by all but one, which is called coparceny.

In modern law, the terms inheritance and heir refer exclusively to succession to property by descent from a deceased dying intestate. Takers in property succeeded to under a will are termed generally beneficiaries, and specifically devisees for real property, bequestees for personal property (except money), or legatees for money.

Except in some jurisdictions where a person cannot be legally disinherited (such as the United States state of Louisiana, which allows disinheritance only under specifically enumerated circumstances), a person who would be an heir under intestate laws may be disinherited completely under the terms of a will (an example is that of the will of comedian Jerry Lewis; his will specifically disinherited his six children by his first wife, and their descendants, leaving his entire estate to his second wife).

History

Detailed anthropological and sociological studies have been made about customs of patrilineal inheritance, where only male children can inherit. Some cultures also employ matrilineal succession, where property can only pass along the female line, most commonly going to the sister's sons of the decedent; but also, in some societies, from the mother to her daughters. Some ancient societies and most modern states employ egalitarian inheritance, without discrimination based on gender and/or birth order.

Jewish laws

The inheritance is patrilineal. The father —that is, the owner of the land— bequeaths only to his male descendants, so the Promised Land passes from one Jewish father to his sons.

If there were no living sons and no descendants of any previously living sons, daughters inherit. In Numbers 27:1-4, the daughters of Zelophehad (Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah) of the tribe of Manasseh come to Moses and ask for their father's inheritance, as they have no brothers. The order of inheritance is set out in Numbers 27:7-11: a man's sons inherit first, daughters if no sons, brothers if he has no children, and so on.

Later, in Numbers 36, some of the heads of the families of the tribe of Manasseh come to Moses and point out that, if a daughter inherits and then marries a man not from her paternal tribe, her land will pass from her birth-tribe's inheritance into her marriage-tribe's. So a further rule is laid down: if a daughter inherits land, she must marry someone within her father's tribe. (The daughters of Zelophehad marry the sons' of their father's brothers. There is no indication that this was not their choice.)

The tractate Baba Bathra, written during late Antiquity in Babylon, deals extensively with issues of property ownership and inheritance according to Jewish Law. Other works of Rabbinical Law, such as the Hilkhot naḥalot : mi-sefer Mishneh Torah leha-Rambam,[1] and the Sefer ha-yerushot: ʻim yeter ha-mikhtavim be-divre ha-halakhah be-ʻAravit uve-ʻIvrit uve-Aramit[2] also deal with inheritance issues. The first, often abbreviated to Mishneh Torah, was written by Maimonides and was very important in Jewish tradition.

All these sources agree that the firstborn son is entitled to a double portion of his father's estate: Deuteronomy 21:17. This means that, for example, if a father left five sons, the firstborn receives a third of the estate and each of the other four receives a sixth. If he left nine sons, the firstborn receives a fifth and each of the other eight receive a tenth.[1][3] If the eldest surviving son is not the firstborn son, he is not entitled to the double portion.

Philo of Alexandria[4] and Josephus[5] also comment on the Jewish laws of inheritance, praising them above other law codes of their time. They also agreed that the firstborn son must receive a double portion of his father's estate.

Christian laws

The New Testament does not specifically mention anything about inheritance rights: the only story even mentioning inheritance is that of the Prodigal Son, but that involved the father voluntarily passing his estate to his two sons prior to his death; the younger son receiving his inheritance (1/3; the older son would have received 2/3 under then existing Jewish law) and squandering it.

The topic is generally not discussed among doctrinal statements of various denominations or sects, leaving that to be a matter of secular concern.

Islamic laws

The Quran introduced a number of different rights and restrictions on matters of inheritance, including general improvements to the treatment of women and family life compared to the pre-Islamic societies that existed in the Arabian Peninsula at the time.[6] Furthermore, the Quran introduced additional heirs that were not entitled to inheritance in pre-Islamic times, mentioning nine relatives specifically of which six were female and three were male. However, the inheritance rights of women remained inferior to those of men because in Islam someone always has a responsibility of looking after a woman's expenses. According to the Quran, for example, a son is entitled to twice as much inheritance as a daughter.[Quran 4:11][7] The Quran also presented efforts to fix the laws of inheritance, and thus forming a complete legal system. This development was in contrast to pre-Islamic societies where rules of inheritance varied considerably.[6] In addition to the above changes, the Quran imposed restrictions on testamentary powers of a Muslim in disposing his or her property. In their will, a Muslim can only give out a maximum of one third of their property.

The Quran contains only three verses that give specific details of inheritance and shares, in addition to few other verses dealing with testamentary. [Quran 4:11,12,176][8] But this information was used as a starting point by Muslim jurists who expounded the laws of inheritance even further using Hadith, as well as methods of juristic reasoning like Qiyas. Nowadays, inheritance is considered an integral part of Sharia law and its application for Muslims is mandatory, though many peoples (see Historical inheritance systems), despite being Muslim, have other inheritance customs.

Inequality

Inheritance by amount and distribution received and action taken with inheritances in Great Britain between 2008 and 2010
Inheritance by amount and distribution received and action taken with inheritances in Great Britain between 2008 and 2010

The distribution of the inherited wealth has varied greatly among different cultures and legal traditions. In nations using civil law, for example, the right of children to inherit wealth from parents in pre-defined ratios is enshrined in law,[9] as far back as the Code of Hammurabi (ca. 1750 BC).[10] In the US State of Louisiana, the only US state to use Napoleonic Code for state law, this system is known as "forced heirship" which prohibits disinheritance of adult children except for a few narrowly-defined reasons that a parent is obligated to prove.[11] Other legal traditions, particularly in nations using common law, allow inheritances to be divided however one wishes, or to disinherit any child for any reason.

In cases of unequal inheritance, the majority might receive little while only a small number inherit a larger amount, with the lesser amount given to the daughter in the family. The amount of inheritance is often far less than the value of a business initially given to the son, especially when a son takes over a thriving multimillion-dollar business, yet the daughter is given the balance of the actual inheritance amounting to far less than the value of business that was initially given to the son. This is especially seen in old world cultures, but continues in many families to this day.[12]

Arguments for eliminating the disparagement of inheritance inequality include the right to property and the merit of individual allocation of capital over government wealth confiscation and redistribution, but this does not resolve what some describe as the problem of unequal inheritance. In terms of inheritance inequality, some economists and sociologists focus on the inter generational transmission of income or wealth which is said to have a direct impact on one's mobility (or immobility) and class position in society. Nations differ on the political structure and policy options that govern the transfer of wealth.[13]

According to the American federal government statistics compiled by Mark Zandi in 1985, the average US inheritance was $39,000. In subsequent years, the overall amount of total annual inheritance more than doubled, reaching nearly $200 billion. By 2050, there will be an estimated $25 trillion inheritance transmitted across generations.[14]

Some researchers have attributed this rise to the baby boomer generation. Historically, the baby boomers were the largest influx of children conceived after WW2. For this reason, Thomas Shapiro suggests that this generation "is in the midst of benefiting from the greatest inheritance of wealth in history."[15] Inherited wealth may help explain why many Americans who have become rich may have had a "substantial head start".[16][17] In September 2012, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, "over 60 percent" of the Forbes richest 400 Americans "grew up in substantial privilege", and often (but not always) received substantial inheritances.[18] The French economist Thomas Piketty studied this phenomenon in his best-selling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, published in 2013.

Other research has shown that many inheritances, large or small, are rapidly squandered.[19] Similarly, analysis shows that over two-thirds of high-wealth families lose their wealth within two generations, and almost 80% of high-wealth parents "feel the next generation is not financially responsible enough to handle inheritance."[20]

Social stratification

It has been argued that inheritance plays a significant effect on social stratification. Inheritance is an integral component of family, economic, and legal institutions, and a basic mechanism of class stratification. It also affects the distribution of wealth at the societal level. The total cumulative effect of inheritance on stratification outcomes takes three forms, according to scholars who have examined the subject.

The first form of inheritance is the inheritance of cultural capital (i.e. linguistic styles, higher status social circles, and aesthetic preferences).[21] The second form of inheritance is through familial interventions in the form of inter vivos transfers (i.e. gifts between the living), especially at crucial junctures in the life courses. Examples include during a child's milestone stages, such as going to college, getting married, getting a job, and purchasing a home.[21] The third form of inheritance is the transfers of bulk estates at the time of death of the testators, thus resulting in significant economic advantage accruing to children during their adult years.[22] The origin of the stability of inequalities is material (personal possessions one is able to obtain) and is also cultural, rooted either in varying child-rearing practices that are geared to socialization according to social class and economic position. Child-rearing practices among those who inherit wealth may center around favoring some groups at the expense of others at the bottom of the social hierarchy.[23]

Sociological and economic effects of inheritance inequality

It is further argued that the degree to which economic status and inheritance is transmitted across generations determines one's life chances in society. Although many have linked one's social origins and educational attainment to life chances and opportunities, education cannot serve as the most influential predictor of economic mobility. In fact, children of well-off parents generally receive better schooling and benefit from material, cultural, and genetic inheritances.[24] Likewise, schooling attainment is often persistent across generations and families with higher amounts of inheritance are able to acquire and transmit higher amounts of human capital. Lower amounts of human capital and inheritance can perpetuate inequality in the housing market and higher education. Research reveals that inheritance plays an important role in the accumulation of housing wealth. Those who receive an inheritance are more likely to own a home than those who do not regardless of the size of the inheritance.[25]

Often, racial or religious minorities and individuals from socially disadvantaged backgrounds receive less inheritance and wealth. As a result, mixed races might be excluded in inheritance privilege and are more likely to rent homes or live in poorer neighborhoods, as well as achieve lower educational attainment compared with whites in America. Individuals with a substantial amount of wealth and inheritance often intermarry with others of the same social class to protect their wealth and ensure the continuous transmission of inheritance across generations; thus perpetuating a cycle of privilege.

Nations with the highest income and wealth inequalities often have the highest rates of homicide and disease (such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension).[26] A The New York Times article reveals that the U.S. is the world's wealthiest nation, but "ranks twenty-ninth in life expectancy, right behind Jordan and Bosnia." This has been regarded as highly attributed to the significant gap of inheritance inequality in the country,[27] although there are clearly other factors such as the affordability of healthcare.

When social and economic inequalities centered on inheritance are perpetuated by major social institutions such as family, education, religion, etc., these differing life opportunities are argued to be transmitted from each generation. As a result, this inequality is believed to become part of the overall social structure.[28]

Dynastic wealth

Dynastic wealth is monetary inheritance that is passed on to generations that didn't earn it.[29] Dynastic wealth is linked to the term Plutocracy. Much has been written about the rise and influence of dynastic wealth including the bestselling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century by the French economist Thomas Piketty.[30]

Bill Gates uses the term in his article "Why Inequality Matters".[31]

Taxation

Many states have inheritance taxes or death duties, under which a portion of any estate goes to the government.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Nachalot - Chapter 2". www.chabad.org. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  2. ^ Saʻadia ben Joseph, Joel Müller (28 September 1897). "Sefer ha-yerushot: ʻim yeter ha-mikhtavim be-divre ha-halakhah be-ʻAravit uve-ʻIvrit uve-Aramit". Ernest Leroux. Retrieved 28 September 2017 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-04-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Spec. Leg. 2.130
  5. ^ Ant. 4.249
  6. ^ a b C.E. Bosworth et al, eds. (1993). "Mīrāth". Encyclopaedia of Islam. 7 (second ed.). Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 90-04-09419-9.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  7. ^ "The Quranic Arabic Corpus - Translation". corpus.quran.com. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  8. ^ [1] Archived 2015-05-01 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Julia Twigg and Alain Grand. Contrasting legal conceptions of family obligation and financial reciprocity in the support of older people: France and England Archived 2018-02-01 at the Wayback Machine Ageing & Society, 18(2) March 1998 , pp. 131-146
  10. ^ Edmond N. Cahn. Restraints on Disinheritance University of Pennsylvania Law Review and American Law Register, Vol. 85, No. 2 (Dec., 1936), pp. 139-153
  11. ^ 43 Loy. L. Rev. 1 (1997-1998) The New Forced Heirship in Louisiana: Historical Perspectives, Comparative Law Analyses and Reflections upon the Integration of New Structures into a Classical Civil Law System Archived 2018-04-29 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Davies, James B. "The Relative Impact of Inheritance and Other Factors on Economic Inequality". The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 97, No. 3, pp. 471
  13. ^ Angel, Jacqueline L. Inheritance in Contemporary America: The Social Dimensions of Giving across Generations. p. 35
  14. ^ Marable, Manning. "Letter From America: Inheritance, Wealth and Race." Google pages.com Archived 2008-12-16 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Shapiro, Thomas M. The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality. Oxford University Press. 2004. p. 5
  16. ^ Bruenig, Matt (March 24, 2014). "You call this a meritocracy? How rich inheritance is poisoning the American economy". Salon. Archived from the original on July 31, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  17. ^ Staff (March 18, 2014). "Inequality – Inherited wealth". The Economist. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  18. ^ Pizzigati, Sam (September 24, 2012). "The 'Self-Made' Hallucination of America's Rich". Institute for Policy Studies. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  19. ^ Elizabeth O'Brien. One in three Americans who get an inheritance blow it Archived 2018-02-01 at the Wayback Machine, Market Watch.com
  20. ^ Chris Taylor. 70% of Rich Families Lose Their Wealth by the Second Generation Archived 2018-01-24 at the Wayback Machine, Time.com, June 17, 2015
  21. ^ a b (Edited By) Miller, Robert K., McNamee, Stephen J. Inheritance and Wealth in America. p. 2
  22. ^ (Edited By) Miller, Robert K., McNamee, Stephen L. Inheritance and Wealth in America. p. 4
  23. ^ Clignet, Remi. Death, Deeds, and Descendants: Inheritance in Modern America. p. 3
  24. ^ Bowles, Samuel; Gintis, Herbert, "The Inheritance of Inequality." Journal of Economic Perspectives Vol. 16, No. 3, 2002, p. 4
  25. ^ Flippen, Chenoa A. "Racial and Ethnic Inequality in Homeownership and Housing Equity." The Sociological Quarterly, Volume 42, No. 2 p. 134
  26. ^ page 20 of "The Spirit Level"by Wilkinson & Pickett, Bloomsbury Press 2009
  27. ^ Dubner, Stephen. "How Big of a Deal Is Income Inequality? A Guest Post". The New York Times. August 27, 2008.
  28. ^ Rokicka, Ewa. "Local policy targeted at reducing inheritance of inequalities in European countries." May 2006. Lodz.pl Archived 2008-12-16 at the Wayback Machine (in Polish)
  29. ^ John J. Miller, "Open the FloodGates", "The Wall Street Journal", July 7, 2006
  30. ^ Piketty, Thomas, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century". Harvard University Press, Mar 10, 2014
  31. ^ BILL GATES, "Why Inequality Matters", "LinkedIn", 15 October 2014

External links

Dominance (genetics)

Dominance in genetics is a relationship between alleles of one gene, in which the effect on phenotype of one allele masks the contribution of a second allele at the same locus. The first allele is dominant and the second allele is recessive. For genes on an autosome (any chromosome other than a sex chromosome), the alleles and their associated traits are autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive. Dominance is a key concept in Mendelian inheritance and classical genetics. Often the dominant allele codes for a functional protein whereas the recessive allele does not.

A classic example of dominance is the inheritance of seed shape in peas. Peas may be round, associated with allele R, or wrinkled, associated with allele r. In this case, three combinations of alleles (genotypes) are possible: RR, Rr, and rr. The RR individuals have round peas and the rr individuals have wrinkled peas. In Rr individuals the R allele masks the presence of the r allele, so these individuals also have round peas. Thus, allele R is dominant to allele r, and allele r is recessive to allele R. This use of upper case letters for dominant alleles and lower case ones for recessive alleles is a widely followed convention.

More generally, where a gene exists in two allelic versions (designated A and a), three combinations of alleles are possible: AA, Aa, and aa. If AA and aa individuals (homozygotes) show different forms of some trait (phenotypes), and Aa individuals (heterozygotes) show the same phenotype as AA individuals, then allele A is said to dominate, be dominant to or show dominance to allele a, and a is said to be recessive to A.

Dominance is not inherent to either an allele or its phenotype. It is a relationship between two alleles of a gene and their associated phenotypes; one allele can be dominant over a second allele, recessive to a third allele, and codominant to a fourth. Also, an allele may be dominant for a particular aspect of phenotype but not for other aspects influenced by the same gene. Dominance differs from epistasis, a relationship in which an allele of one gene affects the expression of another allele at a different gene.

Epigenetics

Epigenetics is the study of heritable phenotype changes that do not involve alterations in the DNA sequence. The Greek prefix epi- (ἐπι- "over, outside of, around") in epigenetics implies features that are "on top of" or "in addition to" the traditional genetic basis for inheritance. Epigenetics most often denotes changes that affect gene activity and expression, but can also be used to describe any heritable phenotypic change. Such effects on cellular and physiological phenotypic traits may result from external or environmental factors, or be part of normal development. The standard definition of epigenetics requires these alterations to be heritable, either in the progeny of cells or of organisms.

The term also refers to the changes themselves: functionally relevant changes to the genome that do not involve a change in the nucleotide sequence. Examples of mechanisms that produce such changes are DNA methylation and histone modification, each of which alters how genes are expressed without altering the underlying DNA sequence. Gene expression can be controlled through the action of repressor proteins that attach to silencer regions of the DNA. These epigenetic changes may last through cell divisions for the duration of the cell's life, and may also last for multiple generations even though they do not involve changes in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism; instead, non-genetic factors cause the organism's genes to behave (or "express themselves") differently.One example of an epigenetic change in eukaryotic biology is the process of cellular differentiation. During morphogenesis, totipotent stem cells become the various pluripotent cell lines of the embryo, which in turn become fully differentiated cells. In other words, as a single fertilized egg cell – the zygote – continues to divide, the resulting daughter cells change into all the different cell types in an organism, including neurons, muscle cells, epithelium, endothelium of blood vessels, etc., by activating some genes while inhibiting the expression of others.Historically, some phenomena not necessarily heritable have also been described as epigenetic. For example, the term epigenetic has been used to describe any modification of chromosomal regions, especially histone modifications, whether or not these changes are heritable or associated with a phenotype. The consensus definition now requires a trait to be heritable for it to be considered epigenetic.

Estate (law)

An estate, in common law, is the net worth of a person at any point in time alive or dead. It is the sum of a person's assets – legal rights, interests and entitlements to property of any kind – less all liabilities at that time. The issue is of special legal significance on a question of bankruptcy and death of the person. (See inheritance.)

Depending on the particular context, the term is also used in reference to an estate in land or of a particular kind of property (such as real estate or personal estate). The term is also used to refer to the sum of a person's assets only.

The equivalent in civil law legal systems is patrimony.

Genetic disorder

A genetic disorder is a genetic problem caused by one or more abnormalities formed in the genome. Most genetic disorders are quite rare and affect one person in every several thousands or millions. The earliest known genetic condition in a hominid was in the fossil species Paranthropus robustus, with over a third of individuals displaying Amelogenesis imperfecta.Genetic disorders may be hereditary, meaning that they are passed down from the parents' genes. In other genetic disorders, defects may be caused by new mutations or changes to the DNA. In such cases, the defect will only be passed down if it occurs in the germline.

Some types of recessive gene disorders confer an advantage in certain environments when only one copy of the gene is present.

Genetics

Genetics is a branch of biology concerned with the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.Gregor Mendel, a scientist and Augustinian friar, discovered genetics in the late 19th-century. Mendel studied "trait inheritance", patterns in the way traits are handed down from parents to offspring. He observed that organisms (pea plants) inherit traits by way of discrete "units of inheritance". This term, still used today, is a somewhat ambiguous definition of what is referred to as a gene.

Trait inheritance and molecular inheritance mechanisms of genes are still primary principles of genetics in the 21st century, but modern genetics has expanded beyond inheritance to studying the function and behavior of genes. Gene structure and function, variation, and distribution are studied within the context of the cell, the organism (e.g. dominance), and within the context of a population. Genetics has given rise to a number of subfields, including epigenetics and population genetics. Organisms studied within the broad field span the domains of life (archaea, bacteria, and eukarya).

Genetic processes work in combination with an organism's environment and experiences to influence development and behavior, often referred to as nature versus nurture. The intracellular or extracellular environment of a cell or organism may switch gene transcription on or off. A classic example is two seeds of genetically identical corn, one placed in a temperate climate and one in an arid climate. While the average height of the two corn stalks may be genetically determined to be equal, the one in the arid climate only grows to half the height of the one in the temperate climate due to lack of water and nutrients in its environment.

Heredity

Heredity is the passing on of traits from parents to their offspring, either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, the offspring cells or organisms acquire the genetic information of their parents. Through heredity, variations between individuals can accumulate and cause species to evolve by natural selection. The study of heredity in biology is genetics.

Inheritance (object-oriented programming)

In object-oriented programming, inheritance is the mechanism of basing an object or class upon another object (prototype-based inheritance) or class (class-based inheritance), retaining similar implementation. Also defined as deriving new classes (sub classes) from existing ones (super class or base class) and forming them into a hierarchy of classes. In most class-based object-oriented languages, an object created through inheritance (a "child object") acquires all the properties and behaviors of the parent object (except: constructors, destructor, overloaded operators and friend functions of the base class). Inheritance allows programmers to create classes that are built upon existing classes, to specify a new implementation while maintaining the same behaviors (realizing an interface), to reuse code and to independently extend original software via public classes and interfaces. The relationships of objects or classes through inheritance give rise to a directed graph. Inheritance was invented in 1969 for Simula.An inherited class is called a subclass of its parent class or super class. The term "inheritance" is loosely used for both class-based and prototype-based programming, but in narrow use the term is reserved for class-based programming (one class inherits from another), with the corresponding technique in prototype-based programming being instead called delegation (one object delegates to another).

Inheritance should not be confused with subtyping. In some languages inheritance and subtyping agree, whereas in others they differ; in general, subtyping establishes an is-a relationship, whereas inheritance only reuses implementation and establishes a syntactic relationship, not necessarily a semantic relationship (inheritance does not ensure behavioral subtyping). To distinguish these concepts, subtyping is also known as interface inheritance, whereas inheritance as defined here is known as implementation inheritance or code inheritance. Still, inheritance is a commonly used mechanism for establishing subtype relationships.Inheritance is contrasted with object composition, where one object contains another object (or objects of one class contain objects of another class); see composition over inheritance. Composition implements a has-a relationship, in contrast to the is-a relationship of subtyping.

Inheritance Cycle

The Inheritance Cycle is a tetralogy of young adult high fantasy novels written by American author Christopher Paolini. Set in the fictional world of Alagaësia (), the novels focus on the adventures of a teenage boy named Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, as they struggle to overthrow the evil king Galbatorix. The series was originally intended to be a trilogy (named the "Inheritance Trilogy") until Paolini announced on October 30, 2007, while working on the third novel, that he believed the story was too complex to conclude in just three books.

The book series as a whole received mixed reviews by critics, but has gained both popularity and commercial success. The first book in the series, Eragon, was originally self-published by Paolini in 2001, and subsequently re-published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers on June 25, 2003. The second book in the series, Eldest, was published by Knopf on August 23, 2005. Both were New York Times bestsellers. The third book in the series, Brisingr, was published by Knopf on September 20, 2008. The fourth and final book in the series, Inheritance, was published by Knopf on November 8, 2011. The series has sold 33.5 million copies worldwide.

In 2006, a feature film was released based on the first book in the cycle, Eragon, starring Ed Speleers, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich and Djimon Hounsou. The film received generally negative reviews and closed as the 13th highest grossing fantasy-live action film within the United States.

Inheritance tax

An inheritance or estate tax is a tax paid by a person who inherits money or property or a levy on the estate (money and property) of a person who has died.International tax law distinguishes between an estate tax and an inheritance tax—an estate tax is assessed on the assets of the deceased, while an inheritance tax is assessed on the legacies received by the estate's beneficiaries. However, this distinction is not always observed; for example, the UK's "inheritance tax" is a tax on the assets of the deceased, and strictly speaking is therefore an estate tax.

For historical reasons, the term death duty is still used colloquially (though not legally) in the UK and some Commonwealth countries.

Islamic inheritance jurisprudence

Islamic Inheritance jurisprudence is a field of Islamic jurisprudence (Arabic: فقه‎) that deals with inheritance, a topic that is prominently dealt with in the Qur'an. It is often called Mīrāth, and its branch of Islamic law is technically known as ʿilm al-farāʾiḍ (Arabic: علم الفرائض‎, "the science of the ordained quotas"). All Muslims are to follow and implement the rules of Islamic inheritance.

Lamarckism

Lamarckism (or Lamarckian inheritance) is the hypothesis that an organism can pass on characteristics that it has acquired through use or disuse during its lifetime to its offspring. It is also known as the inheritance of acquired characteristics or soft inheritance. It is inaccurately named after the French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829), who incorporated the action of soft inheritance into his evolutionary theories as a supplement to his concept of orthogenesis, a drive towards complexity. The theory is cited in textbooks to contrast with Darwinism. This paints a false picture of the history of biology, as Lamarck did not originate the idea of soft inheritance, which was known from the classical era onwards, and it was not the primary focus of Lamarck's theory of evolution. Further, in On the Origin of Species (1859), Charles Darwin supported the idea of "use and disuse inheritance", though rejecting other aspects of Lamarck's theory; and his pangenesis theory implied soft inheritance.

Many researchers from the 1860s onwards attempted to find evidence for the theory, but these have all been explained away either by other mechanisms such as genetic contamination, or as fraud. On the other hand, August Weismann's experiment is now considered to have failed to disprove Lamarckism as it did not address use and disuse. Later, Mendelian genetics supplanted the notion of inheritance of acquired traits, eventually leading to the development of the modern synthesis, and the general abandonment of Lamarckism in biology. Despite this, interest in Lamarckism has continued.

Studies in the field of epigenetics, genetics and somatic hypermutation have highlighted the possible inheritance of traits acquired by the previous generation. The characterization of these findings as Lamarckism has been disputed. The inheritance of the hologenome, consisting of the genomes of all an organism's symbiotic microbes as well as its own genome, is also somewhat Lamarckian in effect, though entirely Darwinian in its mechanisms.

List of Inheritance Cycle characters

This is a list of key characters in the Inheritance Cycle, a fantasy series by Christopher Paolini. The series contains several hundred characters, while the following list contains only the most frequently mentioned.Many of the names Paolini has used originate from Old Norse, German, Old English, and Russian sources, as well as the invented languages. With the exception of Angela, the characters' personalities are entirely imagined and not based on actual people. Some characters, like the titular character Eragon were developed before the series was written, while others (such as Angela) were added on an as-needed basis.

Mendelian inheritance

Mendelian inheritance is a type of biological inheritance that follows the laws originally proposed by Gregor Mendel in 1865 and 1866 and re-discovered in 1900. These laws were initially controversial. When Mendel's theories were integrated with the Boveri–Sutton chromosome theory of inheritance by Thomas Hunt Morgan in 1915, they became the core of classical genetics. Ronald Fisher combined these ideas with the theory of natural selection in his 1930 book The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, putting evolution onto a mathematical footing and forming the basis for population genetics within the modern evolutionary synthesis.

Mitochondrial DNA

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA or mDNA) is the DNA located in mitochondria, cellular organelles within eukaryotic cells that convert chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Mitochondrial DNA is only a small portion of the DNA in a eukaryotic cell; most of the DNA can be found in the cell nucleus and, in plants and algae, also in plastids such as chloroplasts.

In humans, the 16,569 base pairs of mitochondrial DNA encode for only 37 genes. Human mitochondrial DNA was the first significant part of the human genome to be sequenced. In most species, including humans, mtDNA is usually inherited solely from the mother. However, in exceptional cases, human babies sometimes inherit mtDNA from both their fathers and their mothers resulting in mtDNA heteroplasmy.Since animal mtDNA evolves faster than nuclear genetic markers, it represents a mainstay of phylogenetics and evolutionary biology. It also permits an examination of the relatedness of populations, and so has become important in anthropology and biogeography.

Object-oriented programming

Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a programming paradigm based on the concept of "objects", which can contain data, in the form of fields (often known as attributes), and code, in the form of procedures (often known as methods). A feature of objects is an object's procedures that can access and often modify the data fields of the object with which they are associated (objects have a notion of "this" or "self"). In OOP, computer programs are designed by making them out of objects that interact with one another. OOP languages are diverse, but the most popular ones are class-based, meaning that objects are instances of classes, which also determine their types.

Many of the most widely used programming languages (such as C++, Object Pascal, Java, Python, etc.) are multi-paradigm and they support object-oriented programming to a greater or lesser degree, typically in combination with imperative, procedural programming. Significant object-oriented languages include

Java,

C++,

C#,

Python,

PHP,

JavaScript,

Ruby,

Perl,

Object Pascal,

Objective-C,

Dart,

Swift,

Scala,

Common Lisp,

and

Smalltalk.

Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man

Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a continuously updated catalog of human genes and genetic disorders and traits, with a particular focus on the gene-phenotype relationship. As of 12 February 2017, approximately 8,425 of the over 23,000 entries in OMIM represented phenotypes; the rest represented genes, many of which were related to known phenotypes.

Primogeniture

Primogeniture (English: ) is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate son to inherit his parent's entire or main estate, in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, a child other than the eldest male, a daughter, illegitimate child or a collateral relative. In some cases the estate may instead be the inheritance of the firstborn child or occasionally the firstborn daughter. The descendant (often the son) of a deceased elder sibling (typically elder brother) inherits before a living younger sibling by right of substitution for the deceased heir. In the absence of any children, brothers succeed, individually, to the inheritance by seniority of age (subject to substitution). Among siblings, sons usually inherit before daughters. In the absence of male descendants in the male-line, there are variations of primogeniture which allocate the inheritance to a daughter or a brother or, in the absence of either, to another collateral relative, in a specified order (e.g. male-preference primogeniture, Salic primogeniture, semi-Salic primogeniture).

The principle has applied in history to inheritance of real property (land) as well as inherited titles and offices, most notably monarchies, continuing until modified or abolished.

Variations on primogeniture modify the right of the first-born son to the entirety of a family's inheritance (see appanage) or, in the West since World War II, eliminate the preference for males over females (absolute primogeniture). Most monarchies in Western Europe have eliminated male preference in succession: Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Primogeniture has not been the only form of inheritance in monarchies. The Holy Roman Emperor was selected for enthronement by a small number of powerful prince electors from among Europe's Christian males of inherited nobility. Currently, succession to the Saudi Arabian throne uses a form of lateral agnatic seniority, as did the Kievan Rus' (see Rota system), the early Kingdom of Scotland (see Tanistry), the Mongol Empire (see lateral succession) or the later Ottoman Empire (see succession practices).

Sex linkage

Sex linkage describes the patterns of inheritance and presentation when a mutated gene (an allele) is present on a sex chromosome (an allosome) rather than a non-sex chromosome (an autosome). They are characteristically different from the autosomal forms of dominance and recessiveness.

Since humans have several times as many genes on the female X chromosome than on the male Y chromosome, X-linked traits are much more common than Y-linked traits. Additionally, there are more X-linked recessive conditions than X-linked dominant, and X-linked recessive conditions affect males much more commonly, due to males only having the one X chromosome required for the condition to present.

In humans, X-linked traits are inherited from a carrier or affected mother or from an affected father. In X-linked recessive conditions, a son born to an unaffected father and a carrier mother has a 50% chance of inheriting the mother's X chromosome carrying the mutant allele and presenting with the condition. A daughter on the other hand has a 50% chance of being a carrier, however a fraction of carriers may display a milder (or even full) form of the condition due to their body's normal X-inactivation process preferably inactivating a certain parent's X chromosome (the father's in this case), a phenomenon known as skewed X-inactivation. If the condition is dominant, or if the father is also affected, the daughter has a 50% chance of being affected, with an additional 50% chance of being a carrier in the second case. A son born to an affected father and a non-carrier mother will always be unaffected due to not inheriting the father's X chromosome. A daughter on the other hand will always be a carrier (some of which may present with symptoms due to aforementioned skewed X-inactivation), unless the condition is dominant, in which case she will always be affected. There are a few Y-linked traits; these are inherited by sons from their father and are always expressed.

The incidence of X-linked recessive conditions in females is the square of that in males: for example, if 1 in 20 males in a human population are red-green color blind, then 1 in 400 females in the population are expected to be color-blind (1/20)*(1/20).

The inheritance patterns are different in animals which use different sex-determination systems. In the ZW sex-determination system used by birds, the mammalian pattern is reversed, since the male is the homogametic sex (ZZ) and the female is heterogametic (ZW).

In classical genetics, a mating experiment called a reciprocal cross is performed to test if an animal's trait is sex-linked.

X-linked recessive inheritance

X-linked recessive inheritance is a mode of inheritance in which a mutation in a gene on the X chromosome causes the phenotype to be expressed in males (who are necessarily hemizygous for the gene mutation because they have one X and one Y chromosome) and in females who are homozygous for the gene mutation, see zygosity.

X-linked inheritance means that the gene causing the trait or the disorder is located on the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y chromosome. Carrier females who have only one copy of the mutation do not usually express the phenotype, although differences in X chromosome inactivation can lead to varying degrees of clinical expression in carrier females since some cells will express one X allele and some will express the other. The current estimate of sequenced X-linked genes is 499 and the total including vaguely defined traits is 983.Some scholars have suggested discontinuing the terms dominant and recessive when referring to X-linked inheritance due to the multiple mechanisms that can result in the expression of X-linked traits in females, which include cell autonomous expression, skewed X-inactivation, clonal expansion, and somatic mosaicism.

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