Legal Definition and Related Resources of Inheritance

Meaning of Inheritance

real property that descended to the heir upon the ancestor ‘s death intestate . The term is also used in old books as synonymous with hereditaments. In popular language, the term is used to denote all property obtained by devise or descent although the term strictly means that which descends to the heir upon the intestacy of the ancestor. Rivers v Rivers, (Tex.Ci- v.App.) 346 S. W.2d376.

Inheritance Alternative Definition

A perpetuity in lands to a man and his heirs; the right to succeed to the estate of a person who dies intestate. Dig. 50. 16. 24. The term is applied to lands. The property which is inherited is called an inheritance. The term “inheritance” includes not only lands and tenements which have been acquired by descent, but 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. Co. Litt. § 9. See “Estate.” In Civil Law. The succession to all the rights of the deceased. It is of two kinds: That which arises by testament when the testator gives his succession to a particular person; and that which arises by operation of law, which is called “succession ab intestat.” Heinec. Lee. Elem. §§ 484, 485.

Synonyms of Inheritance


  • appanage
  • benefaction
  • bequest
  • devise
  • dispensation
  • endowment
  • gift
  • hereditas
  • heritage
  • inherited property
  • legacy
  • presentation
  • property obtained bv descent
  • property obtained by devise
  • provision
  • seisin
  • succession of property
  • Associated Concepts: coparcenary
  • curtesy
  • descent
  • distribution
  • dower
  • inheritance estate
  • inheritance tax
  • intestate succession
  • patrimony
  • wills foreign phrases: Haereditas
  • alia corporalis
  • alia incorporalis; corporalis est
  • quae tangipotest et videri; incorporalis quae tangi non potest nec videri
  • An inheritance is either corporeal or incorporeal
  • corporeal is that which can be touched and seen; incorporeal
  • is that which can neither be touched nor seen
  • Feodum simplex quia feodum idem est quod haereditas
  • et simplex idem est quod legitimum velpurum; etsic feodum simplex idem est quod haereditas legitima vel haereditas pura
  • A feesimple is so called because fee is the same as inheritance
  • and simple is the same as lawful or pure; and so feesimple is the same as a lawful inheritance or pure inheritance
  • Filius est nomen naturae
  • sed haeres nomen juris
  • Son is the natural name
  • but heir is a name of law
  • Haeredum appellatione veniunt haeredes haeredum in infinitum
  • Under the name heirs come the heirs of heirs without limit
  • Haereditas est successio in universum jus quod defunctus habuerit
  • Inheritance is the succession to every right which the deceased had possessed
  • Haereditas nihil aliud est
  • quam successio in universum jus
  • quod defunctus habuerit
  • An inheritance is nothing other than the succession to all the rights which the deceased had
  • Si quis praegnantem uxorem reliquit
  • non videtur sine liberis decessisse
  • If a man dies
  • leaving his wife pregnant
  • he is considered as having died childless
  • Major haereditas venit unicuique nostrum a jure et legibus quam aparentibus
  • A greater inheritance comes to each one of us from justice and the laws than from our parents

Related Entries of Inheritance in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Inheritance 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.

Inheritance in Historical Law

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

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

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

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Adjusted Taxable Income, Bodily Heirs, Co-heir, Co-heiress, Curtesy, Demesne, Descent, Equitable Adoption, Estate, Estate Of Inheritance, Freehold, Heir-apparent, Heirloom, Heritor, Inheritance Tax, Life Estate, Parcenary, Presumptive Heir, Primogeniture, Rule In Shelley’s Case, Succession Duty, .


You might be interested in these references tools:

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


This definition of Inheritance 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 Inheritance (more about URIs)


See Also

  • Law Dictionaries.
  • Inequality, Wealth; Wealth

    object-oriented programming.

    Mendel’s laws.

  • Further Reading

    Austen, Jane. 1991. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Knopf.

    Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, David Joulfaian, and Harvey Rosen. 1993. The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence. Quarterly Journal of Economics 108, no. 2: 413-435.

    Kotlikoff, Laurence, and Lawrence Summers. 1981. The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation. Journal of Political Economy 89, no. 4: 706-732.

    Masson, André, and Pierre Pestieau. 1997. Bequest Motives and Models of Inheritance: A Survey of the Literature. In Is Inheritance Legitimate? Ethical and Economic Aspects of Wealth Transfers, ed. Guido Erreygers and Toon Vandevelde. New York: Springer.

    Menchik, Paul, and Nancy Jianakoplos. 1997. Black-White Wealth Inequality: Is Inheritance the Reason? Economic Inquiry 35, no. 2: 428-442.

    Modigliani, Franco. 1988. Measuring the Contribution of Intergenerational Transfers to Total Wealth: Conceptual Issues and Empirical Findings. In Modelling the Accumulation and Distribution of Wealth, ed. Denis Kessler and André Masson. Oxford: Clarendon.

    Oliver, Melvin L., and Thomas M. Shapiro. 1995. Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality. New York: Routledge.

    Shapiro, Thomas M. 2004. The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Ngina Chiteji

    Inheritance in Law Enforcement

    Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of inheritance.


    See Also

    • Law Enforcement Officer
    • Police Work
    • Law Enforcement Agency

    Further Reading

    Inheritance Definition (in the Accounting Vocabulary)

    The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants offers the following definition of Inheritance in a way that is easy for anybody to understand: As distinguished from a BEQUEST or devise, an inheritance is property acquired through laws of descent and distribution from a person who dies without leaving a will. The value of property inherited id excluded from a taxpayers gross income, but if the property inherited produces income it is included in gross income. A taxpayer’s basis in inherited property is the fair market value at the time of death.

    Definition of Inheritance

    The practice of passing on property, titles, debts, and obligations upon the death of an individual to designated beneficiaries.

    Concept of Inheritance in the context of Real Property

    A short definition of Inheritance: In a legal meaning, real property obtained by law rather than by will; generally misused to mean anything which comes from a deceased person.

    Concept of Inheritance in the context of Real Property

    A short definition of Inheritance: In a legal meaning, real property obtained by law rather than by will; generally misused to mean anything which comes from a deceased person.


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