heir at law


noun, plural heirs at law.

a person who inherits, or has a right of inheritance in, the real property of one who has died without leaving a valid will.

Origin of heir at law

First recorded in 1720–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for heir-at-law

Historical Examples of heir-at-law

  • And then I had rights in this matter—am I not his heir-at-law?

    Studies in love and in terror

    Marie Belloc Lowndes

  • No will had been made leaving the estate to him, and his namesake would be the heir-at-law.

    Ralph the Heir

    Anthony Trollope

  • Through your mother you stand next in the line—are heir-at-law, you see.

  • He made no codicils and left no debts, so the King got all as heir-at-law.

    The Greville Memoirs

    Charles C. F. Greville

  • No will had been found, and the son succeeded as heir-at-law.


    James Fenimore Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for heir-at-law


noun plural heirs-at-law

property law the person entitled to succeed to the real property of a person who dies intestate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012