"You are handing everything the child owns to a perfect stranger. Your father would not have allowed it. She should be protected, legally. A settlement can be arranged and it should be arranged. That was his intention."

In order to protect their family line, it was common for brides' families to insist on a settlement that would ensure that some or all of the property that the wife brings to the marriage would ultimately belong to her or her children in the case of the death or loss of the husband. For example, it could be specified that the children of the marriage would each inherit a certain amount (In Austen's Northanger Abbey, General Tilney could not completely disinherit his son Henry, as some of his inheritance is guaranteed by the marriage settlement of his mother). The wife would not necessarily have personal control over this money during the marriage.