Definition of inheritance
1a : the act of inheriting propertyb : the reception of genetic qualities by transmission from parent to offspringc : the acquisition of a possession, condition, or trait from past generations
2 : something that is or may be inherited
3a : traditionb : a valuable possession that is a common heritage from nature
4 obsolete : possession
Examples of inheritance in a Sentence
She began her own business with the inheritance she got from her grandfather.
He left sizable inheritances to his children.
The buildings are part of the city's architectural inheritance.
the inheritance of an estate
the inheritance of a genetic trait
Recent Examples of inheritance from the Web
Gene drive works by tinkering with the rules of inheritance, increasing the likelihood a gene will be passed to the next generation.
The death of a parent could open the door to poverty, neglect and abuse or — a happier plot point — inheritance.
Not an unearned inheritance, mind you, but an actual magic bullet that could cure most of our community's ailments.
This was mainly due to his moratorium on the federal inheritance tax and his quiet cuts in the capital gains tax.
But Hermione is the real role model—a thinker and a doer, someone who derives most of her wizardly power not by genetic inheritance but rather by endless study and practice.
The only time the younger one calls is to check on her inheritance.
In any case, preserving an inheritance probably shouldn't be your top priority.
But proponents say the inheritance tax provides essential revenue and only affects a tiny percentage of estates.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inheritance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
First Known Use of inheritance
Financial Definition of INHERITANCE
What It Is
An inheritance includes those assets of an estate that are bequeathed, in whole or in part, to specific heirs.
How It Works
The assets that comprise an estate are customarily transferred to individuals specified by name or relationship (e.g. "Howard Jones, III or "grandchild") in the will of the deceased. In the absence of a will, estate assets are transferred according to laws that protect the assets of the deceased (generally passing them to descendants in a specific order). Once transferred, an inheritance is heavily taxed.
For example, Jim's estate is worth $10,000. His will specifies that his son and daughter each receive $5000. Following Jim's death, the son and daughter each receive $5000. This is their inheritance.
Why It Matters
An inheritance represents the material legacy an individual leaves behind after his death. In addition to the family dynamics involved in the transfer of an inheritance, there are significant tax implications for the inheritors depending on their circumstances and on the value of assets received.
INHERITANCE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of inheritance for English Language Learners
: money, property, etc., that is received from someone when that person dies
: something from the past that is still important or valuable
: the act of inheriting something
INHERITANCE Defined for Kids
Definition of inheritance for Students
1 : the act of getting by legal right from a person at his or her death or through heredity
2 : something gotten by legal right from a person at his or her death
Legal Definition of inheritance
1 : the act of inheriting: as a : the acquisition of real or personal property under the laws of intestacy or sometimes by will b : the succession upon the death of an owner either by will or by operation of law to all the estate, rights, and liabilities of the decedent
2a : something that is or may be inherited b : something to which one is entitled as heir increasing the son's potential inheritance under [the] will — Lesnick v. Lesnick, 577 So. 2d 856 (1991)
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