ADVANCEMENT, a term technically used in English law for a sum of money or other benefit, given by a father during his lifetime to his child, which must be brought into account by the child on a distribution of the father's estate upon an intestacy on pain of his being excluded from participating in such distribution. The principle is of ancient origin; as regards goods and chattels it was part of the ancient customs of London and the province of York, and as regards land descending in coparcenary it has always been part of the common law of England under the name of hotch-pot (q.v.). The general rule was established by the Statutes of Distribution. The conditions under which cases of advancement arise are as follows: There must be a complete intestacy; the intestate estate must be that of the father; and the advancement must have been made in the lifetime of the father. Land which belongs or would belong to a child as heir at law or customary heir need not be brought in to the common fund, even though such land was given during the father's life. The widow can gain no advantage from any advancement. No child can be forced to account for his or her advancement, but in default thereof he will be excluded from a share in the intestate's estate. As to what is an advancement there has been much conflict of judicial opinion. According to one view, nothing is an advancement unless it be given "on marriage or to establish the child in life." The other and probably the correct view is that any considerable sum of money paid to a child at that child's request is an advancement; thus payment of a son's debts of honour has been held to be an advancement. On the other hand, trivial gifts and presents to a child are undoubtedly not advancements.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)