vacant succession

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Vacant succession refers to when no heirs to an estate can be found or those that are known predeceased the testator or rescinded their inheritance. Vacant succession typically refers to property being distributed under a will, not as an intestate succession. Similarly to intestate succession, however, if no heir can be found, the property will escheat back to the state or other entity designated by state intestacy laws. Courts will allow a certain time to pass for heirs to claim the inheritance and often will appoint an administrator to try and find heirs. Before this, courts would have attempted to find heirs chosen by a will. Vacant succession usually refers to when not only the chosen beneficiaries cannot be found, but no heirs at all can be found. Who counts as an heir will depend on state laws with some states limiting to closer familial relations and others going so far as cousins or further relations. 

[Last updated in May of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]