Apanage Law and Legal Definition

The term apanage is derived from the Late Latin word “apanare,” meaning “to give bread,” i.e. sustenance. The apanage system was practiced in France and is still used there in a non-historical sense. The origin of apanage can be found in the old Frankish custom of dividing the inheritance between the sons, and the principle of succession by the eldest son. Apanages are considered as a portion of lands or money, or a share of the inheritance granted by the King to his youngest son. The apanage system prevented women from inheriting land. In French law, the share of inheritance by the King to his youngest son connotes a renunciation of any future inheritance by the youngest son, because the eldest son alone could become the sole inheritor.