from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In law, a tax levied upon the property of a decedent upon its transfer to heirs, legatees, or distributees.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Of their articles he approved of two only, that demanding the right to choose their pastors and that denouncing the heriot or death-duty.
Oppressive customs by which "the upmost claith," or a pecuniary equivalent, was extorted as a kind of death-duty by the clergy, were sanctioned by excommunication: no grievance was more bitterly felt by the poor.
Apparently this protects the property from a death-duty grab when the owner dies.
"How much of a death-duty that might entail I couldn't guess, but I'm sure it would erase a great deal of your life's treasure.
"How much of a death-duty that would mean I wouldn't venture to guess, but I know it might erase a great deal of your life's treasure.
"But Gentinetta's people have everything so neatly settled for them long before, that they part content without so much as a 'by your leave' or the payment of a death-duty.