While state statute usually defines these terms, it is generally true that an heir of a deceased person is someone who inherits from the deceased based upon their biological relationship to the deceased. Who qualifies as an heir is defined by state statute. A legatee (or sometimes what is called a beneficiary) is typically someone whom the deceased has mentioned in their will or other papers with a directive that they are to receive certain property when the individual dies. Heirs are related. Legatees and beneficiaries may not be related biologically.

Always make certain you know the definition of any term used in legal documents by your ancestor. Sometimes a layman’s definition is not the same as the legal one.

Get Genealogy Tip of the Day the book!



2 Responses

  1. I did a search for the term legatee and genealogy and this post came up. You are everywhere! I am looking at an estate file and someone received money as a legatee. I already knew what the term meant from Black’s but I was hoping there was a stronger connection between this word and child of the deceased. Your blog post is absolutely depressing You did give me a good idea though. I may check to see if this word had a tighter definition in Georgia probate specifically.

    • It’s possible that Georgia has a tighter definition, but if I had to guess I would say that it’s a reference to the person being mentioned in a will or perhaps some other document that provided them with a bequest. Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get the Genealogy Tip of the Day Book