DEFINITION of 'Intestacy'

The condition of an estate of an individual who dies with property valued greater than outstanding debts, but in which there is not a valid will present. Intestacy may also exist if an existing will does not cover an entire estate. In common law systems, property of an estate in intestacy will typically first go to a spouse, then to children and descendants.


Rules governing the succession of an estate in intestacy are typically laid out by the state in which the deceased lived, and may vary across the United States. Because of the complexity of this type of estate law, called intestacy law, individuals who want to determine who receives property from an estate, should ensure that they complete a will.

  1. Probate

    The legal process in which a will is reviewed to determine whether ...
  2. Escheat

    The transfer of title of property or an estate to the state when ...
  3. Beneficiary

    Anybody who gains an advantage and/or profits from something. ...
  4. Asset

    1. A resource with economic value that an individual, corporation ...
  5. Will

    A legally enforceable declaration of how a person wishes his ...
  6. Taxes

    An involuntary fee levied on corporations or individuals that ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Establishing A Revocable Living Trust

    This arrangement allows you to have more control over your estate - both before and after your death.
  2. Options & Futures

    An Estate Planning Must: Update Your Beneficiaries

    Life changes make it time to rewrite your plan's designations.
  3. Retirement

    Skipping-Out on Probate Costs

    Don't let bad estate planning lead to unnecessary costs and stress for your inheritors.
  4. Investing Basics

    Do You Need More Than One Financial Advisor?

    Using more than one financial advisor for money management has its pros and cons.
  5. Insurance

    Cashing in Your Life Insurance Policy

    Tough times call for desperate measures, but is raiding your life insurance policy even worth considering?
  6. Savings

    How To Set Up A Trust Fund If You're Not Rich

    You don't need to be worth millions to create your own trust fund. Learn how your money can be handled in the event of your death.
  7. Financial Advisors

    Passing an IRA to a Trust: The Good and Bad

    Creating a trust is a common estate planning tactic, but naming a beneficiary to an IRA to a trust may have unintended consequences.
  8. Retirement

    5 Reasons Retirees Are Upsizing Instead of Downsizing Their Homes

    Many retirees opt to downsize to save money, but there are many who are doing the opposite and upsizing.
  9. Professionals

    How Income-Shifting Strategies Can Help Cut Taxes

    There are many ways that your clients can move money or other assets to relatives in order to reduce their tax bills. Here's a primer on best practices.
  10. Insurance

    How To Read a Permanent Life Insurance Illustration

    To help you understand your life insurance policy, companies provide a permanent life insurance illustration. Here is how to read and understand it.
  1. If both the primary and contingent beneficiaries are unavailable, what happens to ...

    One of the most common mistakes in estate planning is not keeping beneficiary designations up to date on life insurance policies ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can personal loans be included in bankruptcy?

    Personal loans from friends, family and employers fall under common categories of debt that can be discharged in the case ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How much money does Texas make from unclaimed property each year?

    In 2014, the office of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts reported $234 million in unclaimed property claimant liabilities, ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How much money does Michigan make from unclaimed property each year?

    According to the 2013-2014 Annual Report of the State Treasurer, the state of Michigan earned only $82,875 in abandoned and ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Who decides if a financial security should be escheated?

    There is no one entity who "decides" to escheat assets. Rather, financial institutions are required to report inactive accounts ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What causes a stock account to be escheated?

    Your state government may be able to escheat your stock account or another financial asset if the account or asset is deemed ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  2. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  3. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  4. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  5. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  6. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
Trading Center