(A) The forfeit of all property to the state when a person dies without heirs. (B) title to lands. According to the English law, escheat denotes an obstruction of the course of descent, and a consequent determination of the tenure, by some unforeseen contingency; in which case the land naturally results back, by a kind of reversion, to the original grantor, or lord of the fee. 2. All escheats, under the English law, are declared to be strictly feudal, and to import the extinction of tenure. . 3. But as the feudal tenures do not exist in this country, there are no private persons who succeed to the inheritance by escheat. The state steps in, in the place of the feudal lord, by virtue of its sovereignty, as the original and ultimate proprietor of all the lands within its jurisdiction. 4 Kent, Com. 420. It seems to be the universal rule of civilized society, that when the-deceased owner has left no heirs, it should vest in the public, and be at the disposal of the government.
Law Dictionary – Alternative Legal Definition
In feudal law. Escheat is an obstruction of the course of descent, and consequent determination of the tenure, by some unforeseen contingency, in which case the land naturally results back, by a kind of reversion, to the original grantor, or lord of the fee. It is the casual descent, in the nature of forfeiture, of lands and tenements within his manor, to a lord, either on failure of issue of the tenant dying seised or on account of the felony of such tenant. Jacob. Also the land or fee itself, which thus fell back to the lord. Such lands were called “excadentto,” or “terra excadentiales” Fleta, lib. 6, c. 1; Co. Litt 13a.
In American law. Escheat signifies a reversion of property to the state in consequence of a want of any individual competent to inherit. The state is deemed to occupy the place and hold the rights of the feudal lord. See 4 Kent Comm. 423, 424. Hughes v. State, 41 Tex. 17; Crane v. Reeder, 21 Mich. 70, 4 Am. Rep. 430; Civ. Code Ga. 1895,