GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2004-08 > 1093475182
Subject: Re: Meaning of Heirs
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004 19:06:35 EDT
In a message dated 25/08/04 22:41:04 GMT Daylight Time,
> Doesn't heirs simply mean "those who are to inherit" ?
> So if someone makes a will, everyone in it is an heir right?
> Also then as now, if a person died without issue, his/her parents or
> siblings (if parents were dead) would be heirs even if there was not a will.
No, its a little more complicated. The heir or heirs was the person(s)
_entitled_ to inherit. Most property automatically went to the eldest son (or if
only daus, to them equally) notwithstanding the testators wishes. But the
testator may have acquired property for which he could devise freely. Some
property (especially in Kent) automatically went to all sons equally. Then there is
the widows dowry, she was entitled to one third although I am not quite sure
a third of what — presumably the testators free estate, i.e. disregarding the
property which automatically went to the heir. For London wills there seems
to have been special rules as I have often seen the phrase "per the custom of
this city" put after bequest.
I expect someone can explain the rules much more succinctly than I have done