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

    An inheritance.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In Roman law. The hœreditas was a universal succession by law to any deceased person, whether such person had died testate or intestate, and whether in trust (ex fideicommisso) for another or not. The like succession according to Prætorian law was bonorum possessio. The hœreditas was called "jacens," until the hœres took it up, i. e., made hls aditio hœreditatis; and such hœres, if a suus hœres, had the right to abstain. (potestas abstinendi,) and, if an extraneus hœres, had the right to consider whether he would accept or decline, (potestas deliberandi,) the reason for this precaution being that (prior to Justinian's enactment to the contrary) a hœres after his aditio was llable to the full extent of the debts of the decoased person, and could have no relief therefrom, except ip the case of a damnum emergens or damnosa hœreditas, i. e., an hœreditus which disclosed (after the aditio) some enormous unsuspected liability. Brown. In old English law. An estate transmissible by descent; an inheritance. Co. Litt. 9.
    —Hœreditas damnosa. A burdensome inheritance ; one which would be a burden instead of a benefit, that is, the debts to be paid by the heir would exceed the assets.
    —Hæredi-tas jacens. A vacant inheritance. So long as no one had acquired the inheritance, it was termed "hœreditas jacens;" and this, by a legal fiction, represented the person of the decedent. Mackeld. Roin. Law, § 737. The estate of a person deceased, Where the owner left no heirs or legatee to take it, called also "caduca;" an escheated estate. Cod 10. 10, 1; 4 Kent, Comm. 425. The term has also been used in English law to signify an estate in abeyance ; that is, after the ancestor's death, and before assumption of heir. Co.. Litt. 342b. An inheritance without legal owner, and therefore open to the first occupant. 2 Bl. Comm. 259.
    —Hœreditas legitima. A succession or inheritance devolving by operation of law (intestate succession) rather than by the will of the decedent. Mackeld. Rom. Law, § 654.
    —Hœreditas luctuosa. A sad or mournful inheritance or succession ; as that of a parent to the estate of a child, which was regarded as disturbing the natural onier of mortality. (turbato ordme mortalitatis.) Cod. 6, 25, 9; 4 Kent, Comm. 397.
    —Hœreditas testamentaria. Testamentary inheritance, that is, succession to an estate under and according to the last will and testament of the decedent. Mackeld Rom. Law, § 654.