Decedent Law and Legal Definition

A decedent is a person who has died, sometimes referred to as the "deceased." The term is often used in the handling of his/her estate, probate of will and other proceedings after death, or in reference to the victim of a homicide. A cause of action may be brought on behalf of a decedent by a representative. Some states have statutes governing the statute of limitations on such actions. The following is an example of a state statute governing the statute of limitations of a decedent's cause of action:

" Upon the death of a person in whose favor there is a cause of action which has not been barred as of the date of his death, the limitation of the action ceases to run until a personal representative is appointed or until twelve months after the death, whichever first occurs, but shall not bar such action sooner than four months after death even if a personal representative is appointed earlier."

In the context of anatomical gift, "Decedent" means a deceased individual whose body or part is or may be the source of an anatomical gift. The term "decedent" includes a stillborn infant and, subject to restrictions imposed by law it also includes a fetus.