Descent and Distribution – Effect of Advancements, Debts and Releases When Expectant Distributee Predeceases Intestate

The law of advancements is part of the law of intestate succession. But the right of retainer, which allows an offset against a distributee’s share of the estate for a debt owed by the distributee to the decedent, is merely a method of debt collection and historically has not been considered as a part of the law of inheritance. For this and other reasons, the law applicable to advancements in this situation is better treated separately from that concerning debts of predeceased expectant heirs. There are also sufficient differences between the treatment given a release and that of either an advancement or a debt to warrant separate discussion.