Traditional Laks, like most Daghestani highlanders, lived in patriarchal clan units ( tukhums ) comprised of a large extended family having a common ancestor, either recently deceased or still living. All members had the same patronymic and all property was owned mutually by the clan; decision making was the responsibility of either the elder patriarch or the elder males. Clan members were expected to provide mutual assistance in work and in family affairs, and to assume collective responsibilty in vendettas, as prescribed by adat (traditional Daghestani customary law that predates Islam). The term for close family members within the tukhum is kk'ul , and they refer to each other as usursu (sibling). The importance of tukhums is today being eroded by modernization and continuing out-migration.