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In ancient Egypt inheritance was conveyed either through the legal order of succession, favoring sonsover daughters, children over siblings, and older over younger, or through written declarations thatallowed for individualized arrangements. Adoption was the common means by which a childlessperson could acquire an heir. The initial tendency towards a sole heir (preferably the eldest son) wasreplaced by the division of parental property among all children, although the eldest son continued toplay an important role as trustee for his siblings and received a larger or better share according tothe legal order of succession. Documents used for the bequeathing of inheritance varied over time andwere gradually replaced by donations and divisions after the Middle Kingdom. Effectiveness onlyafter the death of the issuer is rarely mentioned explicitly.

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