de·​ce·​dent | \ di-ˈsē-dᵊnt How to pronounce decedent (audio) \

Definition of decedent

: a person who is no longer living : a deceased person the estate of the decedent

Examples of decedent in a Sentence

a tax on the estate of the decedent

Recent Examples on the Web

Toxicology reports for the decedents are still pending. NBC News, "Hard Rock Hotel in Dominican Republic to remove liquor from minibars," 24 June 2019 The moment someone dies, relatives close to the decedent should secure the apartment or home and quickly take an inventory of the assets, Mr. Schneidman says. Cheryl Winokur Munk, WSJ, "The Key to Protecting Your Assets—After Your Death," 21 Oct. 2018 These new rules apply to estates of decedents dying and gifts made after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026. Wesley E. Wright, Houston Chronicle, "Elder Law: Death, taxes and changes in the new tax act," 12 Feb. 2018 Under Wisconsin law, a parent who commits homicide loses his or her right to decide what to do with a decedent's remains. Crocker Stephenson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Judge rebukes absent father, orders funeral for abused child whose body languished at morgue," 9 Feb. 2018 The Santa Barbara Sheriff's Coroner's Office has identified the decedent as 28-year-old Faviola Benitez Calderon of Montecito. CBS News, "Body found of mother who went missing in Montecito mudslides, sheriff's office says," 20 Jan. 2018 Between Wednesday and Thursday, the decedents were officially identified as Nguyen and Orbeso. USA TODAY, "Joshua Tree hikers found locked in embrace died by murder-suicide, officials say," 21 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decedent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of decedent

1599, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for decedent

Latin decedent-, decedens, present participle of decedere — see decease

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Statistics for decedent

Last Updated

30 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for decedent

The first known use of decedent was in 1599

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Financial Definition of decedent

What It Is

In legal terms, a decedent is a dead person.

How It Works

Let's say John Doe dies this year. He is a decedent. His will and trust enabled him to direct what happened to his possessions and his money. The legal proceedings associated with settling his estate will refer to John Doe as the decedent.

Why It Matters

From a financial perspective, decedents don't stop existing after they die. Their estates still have to file a tax return for the year in which the decedent died, for one thing.

Establishing a trust often reduces estate taxes because it allows a person to transfer legal title of his or her property to another person while he or she is alive. It also gives the trustee (the person acting on behalf of the decedent) the authority to distribute assets immediately to the beneficiaries based on the terms of the trust. No court is involved, so there are no probate fees and no public record of the value of the estate. Many financial advisors urge clients to have trusts, especially those who live in states where probate fees are especially high or if the client owns a home or real estate. Trusts are not for everyone, however, so it is important to seek proper financial advice.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of decedent

US, law : a dead person


de·​ce·​dent | \ di-ˈsē-dᵊnt How to pronounce decedent (audio) \

Kids Definition of decedent

: a dead person

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de·​ce·​dent | \ di-ˈsēd-ᵊnt How to pronounce decedent (audio) \

Medical Definition of decedent

: a deceased person used chiefly in law


de·​ce·​dent | \ di-ˈsēd-ᵊnt How to pronounce decedent (audio) \

Legal Definition of decedent

: a deceased person the estate of the decedent

History and Etymology for decedent

Latin decedent-, decedens, present participle of decedere to depart, die

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More from Merriam-Webster on decedent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with decedent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for decedent

Britannica English: Translation of decedent for Arabic Speakers

Comments on decedent

What made you want to look up decedent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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