Heir Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Heir?

(n) A Heir is the person eligible by the law of land or customary practice prevailing in the land to acquire or receive the property of a deceased person on his death. Eg , spouse, kith and kin, adopted child etc.

History and Meaning of Heir

The idea of inheritance and passing property from one generation to another is a concept that has been around for centuries. In medieval times, the eldest son was typically the one who inherited all of the family's wealth and property. Over time, inheritance laws evolved to include other family members and adopted children, resulting in the current legal definition of an heir.

An heir is someone who is entitled to receive the property of a deceased person according to the laws of inheritance in the land or a customary practice prevailing in the land. This can include immediate family members like spouses and children, as well as other relatives or adopted children. In some cases, an heir may be specified in the deceased person's will.

Examples of Heir

  1. John's father passed away without a will, so John and his siblings are his heirs according to the laws of inheritance in their state.
  2. Elizabeth's aunt willed her entire estate to Elizabeth as her sole heir.
  3. When Maria's grandfather died, his property was divided equally among Maria and her cousins, all of whom were considered his heirs.
  4. After Tom and Susan got married, Susan became the legal heir to Tom's property.
  5. When a billionaire dies without any living relatives, their entire estate may be left to the government as the legal heir.

Legal Terms Similar to Heir

  1. Beneficiary - Someone who is designated to receive assets or benefits from a trust, will, or insurance policy.
  2. Devisee - A person designated to receive real property according to a will or other lawful transfer.
  3. Legatee - A person designated to receive personal property according to a will.