Legal Definition and Related Resources of Descent

Meaning of Descent

In real property law, the taking of real estate by inheritance , that is, as heir of the former owner . The passing of title in realty from a person dying intestate to someone related to him by consanguinity . In Re Copeland’s estate , 179 A.2d 475, 123 Vt. 32. Takes place when land, or some interest in land or other realty, belonging to a person, passes on his death intestate, to someone related to him. The vesting of title in anyone, by mere operation of law as distinct from purchase , which may be either by devise or grant . See Spangenbergv Guiney, 3 Ohio Dec. 163, 2 Ohio N.P. 39. Also Allen v Bland, 33 N.E. 774. 134 Ind. 78.

Descent Alternative Definition

Hereditary succession. Title by descent is the title by which one person, upon the death of another, acquires the real estate of the latter as his heir at law. 2 Bl. Comm. 201; Comyn, Dig. Discent (A). It was one of the principles of the feudal system that, on the death of the tenant in fee, the land should descend, and not ascend. Hence the title by inheritance is in all cases called descent, although by statute law the title is sometimes made to ascend. The English doctrine of primogeniture, by which by the common law the eldest son and his issue take the whole real estate, has been universally abolished in this country. So, with few exceptions, has been the distinction between male and female heirs. Descent is either lineal, as from father to son, or collateral, as from brother to brother.

Legal Definition of Descent

Socially recognized links between ancestors and descendents, such as the bond between children and their parents.

Synonyms of Descent

(Declination), noun

  • change from higher to lower
  • comedown
  • coming down
  • downrush
  • droop
  • drop
  • falling
  • going down
  • inclination downward
  • lapse
  • settlement
  • sinking
  • subsidence

(Lineage), noun

  • ancestry
  • birth
  • birthright
  • blood
  • bloodline
  • breed
  • clan
  • derivation
  • dynasty
  • extraction
  • family tree
  • filiation
  • genealogy
  • heredity
  • heritage
  • kin
  • line
  • line of ancestors
  • origin
  • parentage
  • paternity
  • pedigree
  • race
  • stock
  • strain
  • Associated Concepts: ancestors
  • collateral descent
  • descendants
  • line of descent
  • right and interest by descent
  • title by descent

Related Entries of Descent in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Descent in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Descent in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Descent in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Descent in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Aeronaut, Assigns, Blood, Blood Relationship, Claim, Collateral Heirs, Consanguinity, Coparcener, Coparcenary, Corruption Of Blood, Immediate Descent, Inherit, Inheritance, Intestate Succession, Lineage, Next-of-kin, Parcenary, Purchase, Purchaser, Separate Property, Rule In Shelley’s Case, Succession Duty, Title.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Descent in the Dictionary Descent in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Descent
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Related topics Descent in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Descent is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)

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Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Descent (more about URIs)

Concept of Descent in the context of Real Property

A short definition of Descent: Technically, to pass by succession (operation of law). Modernly, the term includes passing by will.

Concept of Descent in the context of Real Property

A short definition of Descent: Technically, to pass by succession (operation of law). Modernly, the term includes passing by will.



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