The passage of property from ancestors to children has been recognized and enforced since biblical times. As a general rule, the law, and not the deceased person, confers the right of succession—the passing of title to a decedent’s property—and determines who shall take intestate property. In the United States, such law is derived from the Civil Law and English statutes of distributions, rather than from the Common Law, which preferred the eldest male, under the doctrine of primogeniture, and males over females. Statutes in every state prescribe the order in which persons succeed to a decedent’s property if he or she dies intestate, which means without a lawfully executed will. These statutes provide for an orderly administration by identifying successors to a decedent’s, also called an intestate’s, estate. They seek to implement the distribution that most intestines would have provided had they made wills, on the theory that most persons prefer that their property pass to their nearest relatives rather than to more remote ones. Order of preference among certain relatives of the deceased is established by the statute if there are no relatives who can inherit the property, the estate escheats, or reverts, to the state.