|n.||1.||(Law) The falling back or reversion of lands, by some casualty or accident, to the lord of the fee, in consequence of the extinction of the blood of the tenant, which may happen by his dying without heirs, and formerly might happen by corruption of blood, that is, by reason of a felony or attainder.|
|2.||A writ, now abolished, to recover escheats from the person in possession.|
|2.||Lands which fall to the lord or the State by escheat.|
|3.||That which falls to one; a reversion or return|
|v. i.||1.||(Law) To revert, or become forfeited, to the lord, the crown, or the State, as lands by the failure of persons entitled to hold the same, or by forfeiture. |
|v. t.||1.||(Law) To forfeit.|
ESCHEAT, title to lands. According to the English law, escheat denotes an
obstruction of the course of descent, and a consequent determination of the
tenure, by some unforeseen contingency; in which case the land naturally
results back, by a kind of reversion, to the original grantor, or lord of
the fee.. 2 Bl. Com. 244.
2. All escheats, under the English law, are declared to be strictly
feudal, and to import the extinction of tenure. Wright on Ten. 115 to 117; 1
Wm. Bl. R. 123.
3. But as the feudal tenures do not exist in this country, there are no
private persons who succeed to the inheritance by escheat. The state steps
in, in the place of the feudal lord, by virtue of its sovereignty, as the
original and ultimate proprietor of all the lands within its jurisdiction. 4
Kent, Com. 420. It seems to be the universal rule of civilized society, that
when the deceased owner has left no heirs, it should vest in the public, and
be at the disposal of the government. Code, 10, 10, 1; Domat, Droit Pub.
liv. 1, t. 6, s. 3, n. 1. Vide 10 Vin. Ab. 139; 1 Bro. Civ. Law, 250; 1
Swift's Dig. 156; 2 Tuck. Blacks. 244, 245, n.; 5 Binn. R. 375; 3 Dane's Ab.
140, sect. 24; Jones on Land Office Titles in Penna. 5, 6, 93. For the rules
of the Roman Civil Law, see Code Justinian, book 10.