Definitions for escheatɛsˈtʃit
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
(n.)the reverting of property to the state or, as in England, to the crown when there are no legal heirs.
the right to take property subject to escheat.
(v.i.)(of property) to revert by escheat.
(v.t.)to take or confiscate by escheat.
Origin of escheat:
1250–1300; ME eschete < OF eschete, escheoite, fem. ptp. of escheoir < VL *excadēre to fall to a person's share = L ex-ex -1+cadere to fall (VL *cadēre)
a reversion to the state (as the ultimate owner of property) in the absence of legal heirs
the property that reverts to the state
The return of property of a deceased person to the state (originally to a feudal lord) where there are no legal heirs or claimants.
The property so reverted.
to revert by this process
the falling back or reversion of lands, by some casualty or accident, to the lord of the fee, in consequence of the extinction of the blood of the tenant, which may happen by his dying without heirs, and formerly might happen by corruption of blood, that is, by reason of a felony or attainder
the reverting of real property to the State, as original and ultimate proprietor, by reason of a failure of persons legally entitled to hold the same
a writ, now abolished, to recover escheats from the person in possession
lands which fall to the lord or the State by escheat
that which falls to one; a reversion or return
to revert, or become forfeited, to the lord, the crown, or the State, as lands by the failure of persons entitled to hold the same, or by forfeiture
Escheat is a common law doctrine which transfers the property of a person who dies without heirs to the crown or state. It serves to ensure that property is not left in "limbo" without recognized ownership. It originally applied to a number of situations where a legal interest in land was destroyed by operation of law, so that the ownership of the land reverted to the immediately superior feudal lord.
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