Definition of HEIR


One born in lawful matrimony, who succeeds by descent, and
right of
blood, to lands, tenements or hereditaments, being an estate of
inheritance. It is an established rule oflaw, that God alone can make an
heir. Beames Glanville, 143; 1 Thomas, Co. Lit. 931; and Butlers note, p.
938. Under the word heirs are comprehended the heirs of heirs in infinitum.
1 Co. Litt. 7 b, 9 a, 237 b; Woods Inst. 69. According to many
authorities, heir may be nomen collectivuum, as well in a deed as in a
will, and operate in both in the same mannar, as heirs in the plural
number. 1 Roll. Abr. 253; Ambl. 453; Godb. 155; T. Jones, 111; Cro, Eliz.
313; 1 Burr. 38; 10 Vin. Abr. 233, pl. 1; 8 Vin. Abr. 233; sed vide 2
Prest. on, Est. 9, 10. In wills, in order to effectuate the intention of
the testator, the word heirs is sometimes construed to mean next of kin; 1
Jac. & Walk. 388; and children, Ambl. 273. See further, as to the force and
import of this word, 2 Vent. 311; 1 P. Wms. 229; 3 Bro. P. C. 60, 454; 2 P.
Wms. 1, 369; 2 Black. R. 1010; 4 Ves. 26, 766, 794; 2 Atk. 89, 580; 5 East
Rep. 533; 5 Burr. 2615; 11 Mod. 189; 8 Vin. Abr. 317; 1 T. R. 630; Bac.
Abr. Estates in fee simple, B.

2. There are several kinds of heirs specified below.

3. By the civil law, heirs are divided into testamentary or instituted
heirs legal heirs, or heirs of the blood; to which the Civil Code of
Louisiana has added irregular heirs. They are also divided into
unconditional and beneficiary heirs.

4. It is proper here to notice a difference in the meaning of the word
heir, as it is understood by the common and by, the civil law. By the civil
law, the term heirs was applied to all persons who were called to the
succession, whether by the act of the party or by operation of law. The
person who was created universal successor by a will, was called the
testamentary heir; and the next of kin by blood was, in cases of intestaby,
called the heir at law, or heir by intestacy. The executor of the common
law is, in many respects, not unlike the testamentary heir of the civil
law. Again, the administrator ln many respects corresponds with the heir by
intestacy. By the common law, executors unless expressly authorized by the
will and administrators, have no right, except to the personal estate of
the deceased; whereas, the heir by the civil law was authorized to
administer both the personal and real estate. 1 Browns Civ. Law, 344;
Story, Confl. of Laws, 508.

5. All free persons, even minors, lunatics, persons of insane mind or
the like, may transmit their estates as intestate ab intestato, and inherit
from others. Civ. Code of Lo., 945; Accord, Co. Lit. 8 a.

6. The child in its mothers womb, is considered as born for all purposes
of its own interest; it takes all successions opened in its favor, after
its conception, provided it be capable of succeeding at the moment of its
birth. Civ. Code of Lo. 948. Nevertheless, if the child conceived is
reputed born, it is only in the hope of its birth; it is necessary then
that the child be born alive, for it cannot be said that those who are born
dead ever inherited. Id. 949. See In ventre sa mere.

Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition