Universal Succession Law and Legal Definition

Succession by which an estate descended in intestacy to the heirs in mass is universal succession. In universal succession, heirs divide the property among themselves and pay the creditors.

Pursuant to Section 3-312 of the Uniform Probate Code, the heirs of an intestate or the residuary devisees under a will can become universal successors to the decedent's estate by assuming personal liability for taxes, debts of the decedent, claims against the decedent or the estate, and distributions due other heirs, devisees, and persons entitled to property of the decedent. Minors, incapacitated, protected, or unascertained persons are excluded. Heirs or residuary legatees are entitled to take possession, control and title to a decedent's estate by assuming a personal obligation to pay taxes, debts, claims, and distributions.