Descent Legal Meaning and Definition

Here is a simplified definition of the legal term Descent.

Descent (noun): A term referring to the legal rules and procedures used to determine who should inherit a person's property when they die without a valid will. This process varies by individual state laws and often progresses from direct descendants (like children) to other family members based on their relationship to the deceased. The exact lineage of inheritance can include surviving spouses, parents, siblings, or more distant relatives like aunts, uncles, and cousins, contingent upon who is still alive. These rules also consider the person's residency, especially if they lived in a community property state.