Dead man's part

DEAD MAN'S PART, English law. By the custom of London, when a deceased freeman of the city left a widow and children, after deducting what was called the widow's chamber, (q.v.) his personal property was divided into three parts; one of which belonged to the widow, another tot he children, and the third to the administrator. When there was only a widow, or only children, in either case they respectively took one moiety, and the administrator the other; when there was neither widow nor child, the administrator took the whole for his own use and this portion was called the "dead man's part." By statute of 1 Jac. 2, c. 17, this was changed, and the dead man's part is declared to be subject to the statute of distribution. 2 Bl. Com. 518. See Bac. Ab. Customs of London, D 4.

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