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Article, Refereed Journal

Inheritance and Succession among Second and Third Generation Squatter Households in Mexico City

Latin American Research Review, Vol. 47, Special Issue, 2012.

Ward, Peter M.

Latin America urban areas comprise low-income former slum areas that originated as illegal land captures and which have been consolidated through self-build over thirty years.  Today most of the original families still live in their homes, often alongside adult children (and grandchildren).  Survey research in Mexico and elsewhere describes the stability and nature of these shared arrangements and their considerable asset value forming a “patrimonio para los hijos” for second and third generations. Thus, property inheritance among the poor is becoming important issue, although less than 10 percent have wills. This paper analyzes the range of legal provisions that structure housing inheritance and succession in a several Latin American countries.  The case of Mexico is analyzed in detail, and explores how low-income self-help settlers of thirty years ago perceive formal testamentary (Will) inheritance, and how the majority die intestate, approximately half of whom make informal inheritance arrangements. 

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