The individual or collective inheritance of one or another form of property is found among all peoples. The inheritance of status is, at least, very widespread. Inheritance typically occurs at death but may occur earlier too. The particular rues of inheritance vary from one society to another, but show some regularities that have long been studies anthropologically. Sustained patterns of the accumulation of property and its transmission from generation to generation via inheritance are both consequences and causes of the greater social complexity achieved in human societies. Anthropologists study the functions of inheritance rules in relation both to societal impacts for enhancing reproductive success. Inheritance of property and rand are not confined to humans, but culturally variable rules of inheritance apparently are. The existence of inheritance rules can be inferred in at least some archaeologically-studied relatively complex societies, but the firmer evidence comes from the study of more recent societies.
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