Law of Descent and Distribution Law and Legal Definition

Law of descent and distribution is the branch of law that sets forth who is entitled to the estate of the deceased person pursuant to the laws of inheritance. Law of descent and distribution is the state statute that sets forth the distribution of assets to the heirs of the estate. The law pertains to the transfer of real property of a decedent who failed to leave a will.

Law of descent and distribution sets forth the rights and liabilities of heirs, next of kin, and distributees entitled to a share of the property of the deceased. Property subject to descent and distribution includes all vested rights and interests owned by the deceased at the time of death. Statutes generally confer rights of inheritance only on blood relatives, adopted children, adoptive parents, and the surviving spouse. When at the time of death, the intestate's estate is located in the state of his/ her domicile or permanent residence, the law of that state will govern its descent and distribution.