Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    A species of estate or tenancy, which exists where lands of inheritance descend from the ancestor to two or more persons. It arises in England either by common law or particular custom. By common law, as where a person, seised in fee-simple or fee-tail, dies, and his next heirs are two or more females, his daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins or their representatives; in this case they ali inherit, and these coheirs are then called "coparceners," or, for brevity, "parceners" only. Litt. §§ 241, 242; 2 Bl. Comm. 187. By particular custom, as where lands descend, as in gavelkind, to ali the males in equal degree, as sons, brothers, uncles, etc. Litt. § 265; 1 Steph. Comm. 319. While joint tenancies refer to persons, the idea of coparcenary refers to the estate. The title to it is always by descent. The respective shares may be unequal; as, for instance, one daughter and two granddaughters, children of a deceased daughter, may take by the same act of descent. As to strangers, the tenants' seisin is a joint one, but, as between themselves, each is seised of his or her own share, on whose death it goes to the heira, and not by survivorship. The right of possession of coparceners is in common, and the possession of one is, in general, the possession of the others. 1 Washb. Real Prop. 414.