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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 ?
(1982) Epifluorescent microscopic evidence for maternal inheritance of chloroplast DNA.
During gamete fusion, nuclease C obtains access to unprotected male plastids and digests the male plastid DNA, leading to maternal inheritance of plastid DNA.
Chloroplast DNA deletions associated with wheat plants regenerated from pollen: Possible basis for maternal inheritance of chloroplasts.
Thus, the underlying structure of maternal inheritance influences the direction and rate of adaptive evolution.
In contrast in natural populations, empirical estimates of the specific causal variance components determining maternal inheritance are generally lacking.
In this paper, I present a quantitative genetic analysis of maternal effects and estimate the causal variance components relevant to maternal inheritance for several traits throughout the life cycle in a natural plant population.
data), suggesting the likelihood of maternal inheritance early in the life cycle.
To estimate maternal inheritance, I measured the same trait in the G2 and G3 generations: 10 traits at four stages in the life cycle in the greenhouse or four traits at three stages in the field (Table 2).
- I estimated six of the nine causal components relevant to maternal inheritance (Table 1), additive ([Mathematical Expression Omitted], [Mathematical Expression Omitted], [[Sigma].sub.[A.sub.0][A.sub.m]]) and environmental components ([Mathematical Expression Omitted], [Mathematical Expression Omitted], [[Sigma].sub.[E.sub.0][E.sub.m]]) by considering three sequential models of inheritance in a hierarchical approach [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1 OMITTED].
With nonadditive maternal inheritance, selection affecting the variance and covariance of traits could favor the divergence of the population into distinct groups (i.e., polymorphism; Wade 1998) or may fix the population for a single coadapted set of maternal and offspring characters.
Lastly, while we examine only "pure" forms of maternal inheritance (i.e., purely additive maternal effects or purely nonadditive effects), these pure forms can be combined to consider other more complex systems of inheritance (i.e., cases where both additive and nonadditive effects occur).
A response to selection on the reaction norms under maternal inheritance could involve time lags and could depend on the inheritance of other traits (Kirkpatrick and Lande, 1989, 1992).

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