escheat(redirected from escheats)
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in civil law, the legacy of a deceased person that does not go to his heirs. An escheat may occur if up to the day of the donor’s death there are no heirs by law or will or if none of the heirs accepts the inheritance or if the heirs are deprived of the inheritance by the will. If in the absence of heirs the will does not dispose of all the property, the unwilled part of the inheritance is recognized as the escheat.
Under Soviet law, the escheat goes to the government according to the right of inheritance. The state becomes the owner of this property, based on evidence on the right to inheritance given by a notary’s office up to six months from the day of the donor’s death. The government, in the person of local financial officials, assumes responsibility for the debts of the donor to the limit of the value of the property. Property that reverts to state ownership in this way is turned over to state, cooperative, or social organizations for appropriate use.
V. A. KABATOV