BROWSE

Laughing Heir

Definition

In the law of inheritance, a laughing heir is an heir who is legally entitled to inherit the property of a person who has died, even though that heir is only distantly related to the deceased, and therefore has no personal connection or reason to feel bereaved over the death.

What is 'Laughing Heir'

A distant relative who has inheritance rights despite not having a close, personal relationship with the decedent. In most jurisdictions, the law requires that the property of a person who passed away without leaving a will be given first to members of the decedent's immediate family, such as a spouse, children, etc. Under common law, this familial hierarchy extends as far back as it can be traced, giving folks who may have never even heard of the decedent - much less known him/her - inheritance rights.

Explaining 'Laughing Heir'

Many states have enacted laughing heir statutes that limit the rights of distant family members of decedents who died without a will. In these states, the decedent's estate passes, or escheats, to the state itself, to be disbursed as government officials see fit. In states without laughing heir statutes, distant relatives still have priority over the state to an intestate decedent's belongings.

Therefore, it is important to know whether the state of your residence has any laughing heir statutes when considering the execution of your will, lest you inadvertently leave your benefactors liable to potential lawsuits from distant relatives.


Further Reading


Migration and financial transfers: UK-Somalia
refuge.journals.yorku.ca [PDF]
… recommend this book, which sets out an integrated approach to economic development … Preface: Development Economics Before the development of the economics of information (and also the development of game theoretic models of political economy), economist lacked a …

Spendthrift Trusts and Public Policy: Economic and Cognitive PerspectivesSpendthrift Trusts and Public Policy: Economic and Cognitive Perspectives
heinonline.org [PDF]
… recommend this book, which sets out an integrated approach to economic development … Preface: Development Economics Before the development of the economics of information (and also the development of game theoretic models of political economy), economist lacked a …

Critical Comedy: Satire, Absurdity and Ireland's Economic CrashCritical Comedy: Satire, Absurdity and Ireland's Economic Crash
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… recommend this book, which sets out an integrated approach to economic development … Preface: Development Economics Before the development of the economics of information (and also the development of game theoretic models of political economy), economist lacked a …


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