Duhaime's Law Dictionary Heir Definition: A beneficiary of a will or an intestacy. Related Terms: Legitimate Child Initially, at common law, a heir referred to a person who took real property of a deceased as a result of an intestate estate. But the term has evolved to refer generically to any person who in-her-its from an estate - the whole line of descent of the testator - whether it be real property or chattels, intestate or pursuant to a will. To wit, the words of Justice McClellan of the Supreme Court of Alabama in Graham v De Yampert: "Heirs ... is commonly used by lawmen to indicate all persons entitled by will or otherwise to share in the estate of decedents, and in cases like this as a synonym of legatees." REFERENCES: Graham v De Yampert, 17 SE 356 (1895) Re Rynard 1980 DLR 530 Categories & Topics: Duhaime's Trusts, Wills, Estates and Probate Law Dictionary Always looking up definitions? Save time with our search provider (modern browsers only) If you find an error or omission in Duhaime's Law Dictionary, or if you have suggestion for a legal term, we'd love to hear from you!