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In the law of inheritance, transmission of property or property interests of a decedent as provided by statute, as distinguished from transfer according to the decedent's will. Modern laws of intestacy, though they vary widely, share the common principle that the estate should devolve upon persons standing in some kinship relation with the decedent; modern practice tends to favour the rights of the surviving spouse.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on intestate succession, visit Britannica.com.
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