Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Escheat

Quick Summary of Escheat

The reversion of property to the state, or (in feudal law) to a lord, on the owner’s dying without legal heirs.

What is the dictionary definition of Escheat?

Dictionary Definition

The forfeit of all property to the state when a person dies without heirs.

n. from old French eschete, which meant “that which falls to one,” the forfeit of all property (including bank accounts) to the state treasury if it appears certain that there are no heirs, descendants or named beneficiaries to take the property upon the death of the last known owner.

  1. The return of property of a deceased person to the state (originally to a feudal lord) where there are no legal heirs or claimants.
  2. The property so reverted.
  3. Plunder, booty.
  4. That which falls to one; a reversion or return.
  5. To revert to a state or lord because its previous owner died without an heir.

Full Definition of Escheat

To revert to the Crown in Demesne (see demesne land of the crown). Land is escheated if the owner of the Freehold dies Intestate and he has no relatives to whom the land might pass by the rules of intestate succession.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Escheat. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 23, 2021
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Escheat. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: September 23, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Escheat. Retrieved September 23, 2021, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Escheat are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 28th April, 2020 | 0 Views.