Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Reversion of land held under feudal tenure to the manor in the absence of legal heirs or claimants.
  • n. Law Reversion of property to the state in the absence of legal heirs or claimants.
  • n. Law Property that has reverted to the state when no legal heirs or claimants exist.
  • transitive v. Law To revert or cause to revert by escheat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The return of property of a deceased person to the state (originally to a feudal lord) where there are no legal heirs or claimants.
  • n. The property so reverted.
  • n. Plunder, booty.
  • v. to revert by this process

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. The falling back or reversion of lands, by some casualty or accident, to the lord of the fee, in consequence of the extinction of the blood of the tenant, which may happen by his dying without heirs, and formerly might happen by corruption of blood, that is, by reason of a felony or attainder.
  • n. The reverting of real property to the State, as original and ultimate proprietor, by reason of a failure of persons legally entitled to hold the same.
  • n. A writ, now abolished, to recover escheats from the person in possession.
  • n. Lands which fall to the lord or the State by escheat.
  • n. That which falls to one; a reversion or return.
  • intransitive v. To revert, or become forfeited, to the lord, the crown, or the State, as lands by the failure of persons entitled to hold the same, or by forfeiture.
  • transitive v. To forfeit.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To suffer escheat; revert or fall back by escheat.
  • To divest of an estate by confiscation: as, he was escheated of his lands in Scotland.
  • To confiscate; forfeit.
  • n. The reverting or falling back of lands or tenements to the lord of the fee or to the state, whether through failure of heirs or (formerly) through the corruption of the blood of the tenant by his having been attainted, or by forfeiture for treason.
  • n. In England, the place or circuit within which the king or lord is entitled to escheats.
  • n. A writ to recover escheats from the person in possession.
  • n. The possessions which fall to the lord or state by escheat.
  • n. That which falls to one; a reversion or return.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the property that reverts to the state
  • n. a reversion to the state (as the ultimate owner of property) in the absence of legal heirs

Etymologies

Middle English eschete, from Old French (from escheoir, to fall out) and from Anglo-Latin escheta, both from Vulgar Latin *excadēre, to fall out : Latin ex-, ex- + Latin cadere, to fall; see kad- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French escheoit, past participle of eschoir ("to fall"), from Vulgar Latin *excadō, from Latin ex + cadō ("I fall"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Yesterday's term was escheat, which is defined as:

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  • Because of a practice called escheat, however, that assumption could end up turning your financial life upside down.

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  • So, they might not get everything they're entitled to, and the unclaimed assets will eventually revert, or "escheat," to the state.

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  • In the United States, according to Webster, the word "escheat" means "the falling or passing of lands and tenements to the State through failure of heirs or forfeiture, or in cases where no owner is found."

    The History of Escheats

  • So they are trying to confiscate it under the medieval concept of "escheat".

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  • The legal term is called escheat, meaning handing over property to the state.

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  • 1 Escheat was formerly divided under the heads of escheat propter defectum sanguinis (failure of heirs) and escheat propter delictum tenentis (for the felony of the tenant): the latter kind of escheat, however, has, together with forfeiture for the same causes, been abolished in England by 33 and 34 Vict. c 23.

    The History of Escheats

  • When a noble died, according to the law of escheat, so also died his right to his estates—his heirs could not inherit anything; it all reverted to the state, to their Emperor.

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  • If I were writing the property ownership laws for the empty portion of the US, I would have all vacant lands revert escheat? help me Paul to the feds for subsequent sale, award, assignment, etc.

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  • You should keep checking the services for at least several years after a relative's death, since it can take that long for the assets to escheat to the state.

    The Mess They Left

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