Each jurisdiction sets its own definition of an heir at law, including Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. An heir at law is someone who stands to inherit a portion of a estate if the decedent (person who died) passed without a valid will. Identifying heirs at law is an important early step in the probate process whether or not there is a valid will..
Interest parties include both heirs at law and non-government creditors.
The rules for distribution and/or intestate succession are explained for each jurisdiction on the following pages: