|Page: What is the Definition of an Heir?|
The definition of an heir is anyone who is meant to inherit the property of a descendant, whether by statute, deed, will or otherwise.
Jasper L. Edwards
A standard will usually contains two types of gifts, specific and general. When it comes to specific gifts, the drafter of the will leaves a particular object or a certain sum of money to a specific person. These gifts are also optional. They are usually the first items to be distributed amongst the beneficiaries. For instance, a specific gift may read; “To my son, Darren, I leave my high school football ring.”
A general gift refers to a share of the property that is left after all specific gifts are made. Those who receive general gifts are referred to as principal beneficiaries. This is because they usually receive a large portion of the estate after the disbursement of smaller gifts and valuables. In most cases, the principal beneficiary is the will-maker’s wife or close relative. Every will must have at least one principal beneficiary. For instance, a principal beneficiary clause might state; “I leave the remainder of my property to my daughter, Jane.”
The definition of an heir is anyone who is meant to inherit the property of a descendant, whether by statute, deed, will or otherwise. In a strict sense, the heirs are specific individuals who are meant to be the inheritors of the estate of a deceased person through statutory law, if they happened to die without a will. When an individual dies without a will, the heir of the estate will be determined using the rules of descent and distribution. Those who are expected to inherit under this statute are referred to as heirs-at-law. However, for this to apply, the deceased should have died without a will.
A lineal heir is supposed to inherit the deceased’s estate because they descend from a common ancestor. There can also be a collateral heir. This is a person who is not in the direct ancestral line of the deceased. It could be a sister, an aunt or cousin.
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