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Who is an Heir?

Updated on July 16, 2024 , 579 views

An heir is somebody who is legally entitled to inherit a portion or all of another person's Inheritance when that person dies intestate, which indicates that there is no final will or testament created by a deceased member during their lifetime. The heir acquires property according to the laws of the state where the property is probated in this case.


The decedent's heirs are usually his or her offspring, descendants, or other close relatives. Spouses are usually not considered legal heirs since they are entitled to properties under marital or community property rules.

Categories of Heir

Inheritance is the percentage of a dead person's fortune that is left to an heir. Personal property, cash, Real Estate, Bonds, stocks, and more, such as vehicles, furniture, antiques, artwork, and jewellery, can all be involved. Suppose there are many heirs with the same relationship to the deceased person, such as two siblings; the inheritance is usually divided evenly in that case.

There are different categories in which heirs are divided into:

  • Adoptive Heir - It refers to a lawfully adopted kid who has the same rights as the parents' biological offspring.
  • Presumptive Heir - A person who, under normal circumstances, would be regarded as an heir but whose right to inherit may be jeopardised due to the birth of a more recently-born individual.
  • Collateral Heir - A relative who isn't a direct descendent but is still a member of the family.
  • Apparent Heir - A person who is popularly expected to receive the inheritance.

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Difference Between Heir and Beneficiary

Heir technically refers to a person who inherits the property of a person who died intestate; it is used to refer to people who inherit property according to a will. However, this use of the phrase is technically incorrect since the right name for such a person is a "beneficiary," which legally specifies an individual who is entitled to receive property as specified by a will, trust, insurance policy, or other binding agreement.

Not every heir is a beneficiary, as is the case with a separated adult child who is left out of a will. A person can, for example, select a friend or companion to receive property. As he is neither a child nor a direct family of the decedent, the friend is not an heir, but more correctly, will be referred to as a beneficiary, as defined by the deceased person's will or another arrangement.

The Bottom Line

As mentioned above, you must be knowing by now that an heir is entitled to a deceased person's inheritance when the deceased does not leave a will naming a beneficiary. It is usually a person's offspring. The term "heir" is typically connected with lines of succession, notably in royal families. However, the phrase can also apply to somebody who will inherit someone else's fortune. A kid, grandchild, nephew, niece, brother or close relatives might be the person in question.

All efforts have been made to ensure the information provided here is accurate. However, no guarantees are made regarding correctness of data. Please verify with scheme information document before making any investment.
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