There are three actors in a basic inheritance process: the current possessor of the asset, e.g. Alice; the future possessor, e.g. Bob; and the asset itself, e.g. a house.

We can say the Bob a heir of Alice (or inheritor). We can say that Bob inherited a house from Alice.

What is the correct way to describe Bob as the one who inherits a house? The sentence "Bob is a heir of the house", in my opinion, implies that Bob will inherit something from the house, and not the house itself, isn't it?

Originally I wanted to address my future colleague who would maintain the project after me, like "The heir of this project should ..." (kinda vulgarly poetic tone is intentional).

  • macmillandictionary.com/thesaurus-category/british/… According to the definition on this site, it is the correct choice to use heir. However I must point out, it should be an heir, not a heir. Oct 7, 2020 at 21:06
  • By the way, do you want to know a word for the Bob and Alice story-line or do you want for that of the addressal of your colleague? Oct 7, 2020 at 21:09
  • Thanks for pointing out an; turns out that I pronounced the silent H. Oct 7, 2020 at 21:26
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    A person who benefits from a deceased person's will is sometimes called a legatee. However I would call Bob the inheritor of the house. To call him the 'heir' of the house would be wrong. He is an heir of the dead person. Oct 7, 2020 at 21:40
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    Your future colleague is the inheritor of your project. Oct 7, 2020 at 21:41

1 Answer 1


Actually, you can use heir here. What needs to change is the preposition after it. See these examples from Cambridge:

  • When her father died, she became the sole heir to his £40,000 estate.
  • The heirs of the company's founder control about 39% of the business.

In other words, of indicates the person being inherited from while to indicates the thing being inherited.

(Using heir to refer to the future maintainer of your project would give it a playful tone, as you’re not planning for someone dying.)

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