Distribute Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Distribute, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Distribute?

v. 1) The allocation of an estate or trust’s assets according to the terms of a deceased’s will or trust when someone has passed away. When a will does not exist, the distribution occurs according to the laws of descent and distribution. 2) The allocation of a corporation or business’s profits or assets.

History and Meaning of Distribute

Distribute is a common term used in legal contexts to mean the allocation of something. It has two main uses: the distribution of an estate or trust's assets, and the allocation of a corporation or business's profits or assets. When a person passes away, their estate or trust must be distributed according to their will, or if there is no will, according to the laws of descent and distribution. Companies or businesses also distribute profits to their shareholders, or assets if the company is being dissolved.

Examples of Distribute

  1. After the death of his grandmother, John oversaw the distribution of her estate to her heirs as outlined in her will.
  2. The nonprofit board of directors voted to distribute the remaining funds to their partner organization after their event was cancelled due to COVID-19.
  3. The business owner decided to distribute the profits equally among the employees as a bonus for their hard work that quarter.

Legal Terms Similar to Distribute

  1. Disburse: to disperse funds or assets to their intended recipients (often used in the context of loans or grants).
  2. Apportion: to divide or allocate something proportionally (often used in tax or liability contexts).
  3. Divest: to sell or otherwise remove ownership of assets or property (used in the context of businesses or investments).