Heir

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Heir


Quick Summary of Heir


One who receives property from someone who has died. While the traditional meaning includes only those who had a legal right to the deceased person’s property, modern usage includes anyone who receives property from the estate of a deceased person.




What is the dictionary definition of Heir?

Dictionary Definition


n. one who acquires property upon the death of another, based on the rules of descent and distribution, namely, being the child, descendant or other closest relative of the dear departed. It also has come to mean anyone who “takes” (receives something) by the terms of the will. An heir cannot be determined until the moment of death of the person leaving the property, since a supposed beneficiary (heir apparent) might die first. A presumptive heir is someone who would receive benefits unless a child was later born to the current owner of the property the presumptive heir hopes to get someday. A legally adopted child gains the chance to be an heir upon adoption as if he/she were the natural child of the adoptive parent or parents and is called an adoptive heir. A collateral heir is a relative who is not a direct descendant, but a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, cousin, nephew, niece or a parent. It is noteworthy that a spouse is not an heir unless specifically mentioned in the will. He/She may, however, receive an inheritance through marital property or community property laws. A child not mentioned in a will can claim to be a pretermitted heir, i.e. inadvertently or accidentally omitted from the will, and can claim he/she would (should) have received as an heir.

a person who is entitled by law or by the terms of a will to inherit the estate of another.

  1. Someone who inherits, or is designated to inherit, the property of another.
  2. One who inherits, or has been designated to inherit, a hereditary title or office.
  3. A successor in a role, representing continuity with the predecessor.

Synonyms For Heir


heritor, inheritor, successor

Cite Term


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Page URL
https://payrollheaven.com/define/heir/
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Heir. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 23, 2021 https://payrollheaven.com/define/heir/.
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Heir. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. https://payrollheaven.com/define/heir/ (accessed: September 23, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Heir. PayrollHeaven.com. Retrieved September 23, 2021, from PayrollHeaven.com website: https://payrollheaven.com/define/heir/

Definition Sources


Definitions for Heir 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 | 4 Views.