What does heirs and assigns mean?

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What does heirs and assigns mean?

My father and his 9 siblings own 10 acres of land. All have died except my father and 1 aunt. Nobody is doing anything with the 10 acres. I want to step in and build on the land to make use of it. Since my father is still alive, do he and my aunt have full rights currently or does everyone whose an heir of the deceased grantors have rights now?

Asked on June 3, 2018 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

"Heirs" are those who inherit. "Assigns" are people who are "assigned" the rights--for example, someone who buys the rights from one of the owners.
Whether only your father and aunt have rights, or whether the heirs of your deceased aunts & uncles have rights, depends on how the land was owned: if it was as joint tenants with right of survivorship, as each person died, his/her rights did NOT go to his/her heirs, but rather to the surviving co-owners. If owned as tenants in common, however, then as each person died, his/her heirs inherited his/her rights to or share of the property.
If your father is still alive, then in any event, *you* do not have any rights to the property unless he specifically assigned (gifted or sold) his interest to you. You are (presumably) his heir (unless he has a will disinheriting you, which is legal), but being an heir is irrelevant until he passes away and you actually do inherit.
 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

"Heirs" are those who inherit. "Assigns" are people who are "assigned" the rights--for example, someone who buys the rights from one of the owners.
Whether only your father and aunt have rights, or whether the heirs of your deceased aunts & uncles have rights, depends on how the land was owned: if it was as joint tenants with right of survivorship, as each person died, his/her rights did NOT go to his/her heirs, but rather to the surviving co-owners. If owned as tenants in common, however, then as each person died, his/her heirs inherited his/her rights to or share of the property.
If your father is still alive, then in any event, *you* do not have any rights to the property unless he specifically assigned (gifted or sold) his interest to you. You are (presumably) his heir (unless he has a will disinheriting you, which is legal), but being an heir is irrelevant until he passes away and you actually do inherit.
 


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