Primogeniture Law and Legal Definition

Primogeniture is the English right of the eldest born to succeed to inherit the ancestor’s estate, to the exclusion of younger children. It is the state of being the first born child among siblings. Primogeniture in Latin means first born.

The purpose of primogeniture was to keep the estate (real property), the ownership of which implied power, from being subdivided into smaller and smaller parcels of land. The term implied male primogeniture, to the exclusion of females. If there is no male heir, the daughters would take (receive the property) in equal shares.

It is used in wills and estate common law to refer to a dated and antique inheritance law which usually required that a deceased person's property go to his oldest living son to the total exclusion of the spouse or female descendants.

It is an ancient rule from feudal England and it does not exist in the U.S.