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Property received from a decedent, either by will or through state laws of intestate succession, where the decedent has failed to execute a valid will.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. whatever one receives upon the death of a relative due to the laws of descent and distribution, when there is no will. However, inheritance has come to mean anything received from the estate of a person who has died, whether by the laws of descent or as a beneficiary of a will or trust. (See: inherit, heir, heiress, descent and distribution, intestacy, intestate succession, will)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


1 hereditary succession to an estate or title.
2 the right of an heir to succeed to property on the death of an ancestor.
3 something that may legally be transmitted to an heir.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

INHERITANCE, estates. A perpetuity in lands to a man and his heirs; or it is the right to succeed to the estate of a person who died intestate. Dig. 50, 16, 24. The term is applied to lands.
     2. The property which is inherited is called an inheritance.
     3. The term inheritance includes not only lands and tenements which have been acquired by descent, but also every fee simple or fee tail, which a person has acquired by purchase, may be said to be an inheritance, because the purchaser's heirs may inherit it. Litt. s. 9.
     4. Estates of inheritance are divided into inheritance absolute, or fee simple; and inheritance limited, one species of which is called fee tail. They are also divided into corporeal, as houses and lands and incorporeal, commonly called incorporeal hereditaments. (q. v.) 1 Cruise, Dig. 68; Sw. 163; Poth. des Retraits, n. 2 8.
     5. Among the civilians, by inheritance is understood the succession to all the rights of the deceased. It is of two kinds, 1 . That which arises by testament, when the testator gives his succession to a particular person; and, 2. That which arises by operation of law, which is called succession ab intestat. Hein. Lec. El. Sec. 484, 485.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Correspondingly, the records also mention here that three children's portions of inheritence were confiscated.
Explanations for ethnic stratification in the housing market is an important direction for future research in Canada, given the significance of housing wealth for inheritence and the intergenerational persistence of inequality.
It appears the aptly named 'SKI' generation - it stands for Spending Kids' Inheritence, in case you didn't realise - are not only dreaming about adventure, they're heading off on intrepid expeditions, too.
Jorge's succession to Francisco Barreto de Lima's inheritence, for previously Vila Cova had been held both by his uncle and grandfather, Jorge de Lima.
Gaudier embodies a modernism that interprets contemporary life by means of the archaic inheritence. In 'The Bowmen of Shu," Davenport deplores the irony that so vital and regenerative an impulse could be diverted into the apocalyptic fiasco of trench combat.