Forming New Families

The story of the wealthy Mayfair lady who left her considerable fortune to a couple who ran a Chinese restaurant and left nothing for her own family which resulted in a defeat for the blood relative family contesting the will in the high court underlines how some of us may now be appointing new families around us that may not strictly be drawn from true blood relatives.

Adopting New Family Structures
I can’t comment on whether this ladies family had abandoned her in old age (they refute those inevitable rumours) or if this lady just thought her own family were wealthy enough and had decided she’d rather pass on her wealth to people who had treated her as family and wished to do the same in return by leaving her 10 million to a different family she’d formed around herself in her later years..

Broken Society Broken Families?
The notion of family is often seen as an institution under attack particularly in some political circles and its fragmentation scapegoated for many of societies ills. For many the broken family is too easily seen as causing a broken society.

Fluidity
There is the argument that the idea of and the entry rules for ‘family’ may now be a more fluid affair. For some, family love and support may not the ideal with family love and support being entirely conditional andsome may reach out and form new and different social connections and support structures that better fit the constraints of living in the modern world.

You often hear it said that you can’t choose your family. Well maybe some of us can and are doing so.


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3 thoughts on “Forming New Families

  1. I often wonder whether, placed in the same situation, I would behave in that way. whether I would question my parents’ final decisions as to what they should do with their money? I would like to think I would not. It is still such an ingrained feeling in us all that what is “ours” should come to us.

    As to the wider issue of whether people are more and more choosing their own families – I suppose that is true up to a point. But generally at times of crisis it is still to family that everyone turns.

    Interesting anyway. My mind had been preoccupied with Mr Darwin and his canoe and I had not given much thought to this other story.

  2. Hi RB, yes, Mr Darwin does seem an intrinsically British tale (ie: a spectacularly bad idea further ruined by posing with his wife a year ago for the estate agent of their Panama flat and now selling their story to the tabloids to make up the shortfall).
    On the family thing it depends on your own family. Not everyone is in the type of family you can naturally turn to so I think it’s valid to look for support elsewhere if it isn’t available closer to home (it’s probably hard for each type of family to imagine the situation of the other as the idea of family is pretty much coloured by our own experiences). I’ve seen a lot of family fall out over wills even when it all seems to have been left in order (ie: to the satisfaction of all family members).

  3. Yes, the Darwins are fascinating really. Not such a bad idea per se, but if you do such a thing you have to be brave and do it alone.

    You are probably right re families. I know so many people though who have what seems to be irrevocable family breakdown, but when it comes to it – when something really really serious strikes, – they still go back to their roots. And yes, wills, well any financial matters, are almost guaranteed to cause friction. But I think it is more than the money issue – there is the feeling, maybe particularly strong here in the UK of inheritance – be it money or some ghastly heirloom, you don’t want to feel it has gone out of the family. Well, not me – I don’t give a stuff. Or do I???

    Anyway, that was interesting. It got me thinking. Which is a miracle in itself!!!

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