Property can escheat to the state when there are no qualified heirs to someone who has died and that person has left no will. State statute defines who qualified heirs are.
A man died in Bedford County, Virginia, in the late 1700s with only natural children and no will that was admitted to probate. His two hundred acre farm was going to escheat to the state until the natural children petitioned the Virginia legislature to prevent it from happening. State statute did not allow natural children (those born outside of marriage) to automatically inherit from their father.