DEFINITION of 'Intestate'

The act of dying without a legal will. Determining the distribution of the deceased's assets then becomes the responsibility of a probate court.

BREAKING DOWN 'Intestate'

To have died "in intestacy" means a court-appointed executor will compile any assets of the deceased, pay any liabilities and distribute the assets to those parties deemed as beneficiaries.

To ensure that your friends and loved ones receive the contents of your estate upon your passing on, it is extremely important to make a will, or have a will made on your behalf by a lawyer qualified to do so.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Probate

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

    The segment of the judicial system primarily charged with handling ...
  3. Executor

    An individual appointed to administrate the estate of a deceased ...
  4. Taxable Estate

    The total value of a deceased person's assets that are subject ...
  5. Deceased Account

    A bank account, such as a savings or checking account, owned ...
  6. Personal Representative

    The executor or administrator for the estate of a deceased person. ...
Related Articles
  1. Managing Wealth

    Want Your Will to Prevail? Don't Die Intestate

    If you die without making a last will and testament, you are said to have died intestate. What happens to your assets in this case?
  2. Managing Wealth

    How To Choose The Right Executor For Your Estate

    Making a careful choice now can save your heirs from a lot of problems later.
  3. Managing Wealth

    Skipping-Out on Probate Costs

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

    The Benefits And Pitfalls Of Joint Tenancy

    This arrangement allows beneficiaries to access your account without having to go to court.
  5. Managing Wealth

    6 Ways To Lose Your Estate

    Find out why you shouldn't put off putting your affairs in order.
  6. Managing Wealth

    Why You Should Draft A Will

    Don't trust the courts to follow your wishes - plan the distribution of your own assets.
  7. Retirement

    Estate Planning For Canadians

    Trusts, wills, taxes and rules differ by country. Find out what you need to know about estate plans in Canada.
  8. Managing Wealth

    Getting Started On Your Estate Plan

    With some preparation, you can save your heirs from paying a hefty estate tax. Here are some tips.
  9. Retirement

    Estate Planning for Singles

    Now that singles dominate the population, it's important they understand the essentials of estate planning for indivdiuals.
  10. Retirement

    Which Estate Transfer Technique is Right for You?

    This article explains the difference between the two estate transfer methods -- a will and a trust, and the circumstances under which each can be used.
RELATED FAQS
  1. When are beneficiaries of a will notified?

    Learn when the beneficiaries of a will must be notified, and understand how this requirement varies depending on whether ... Read Answer >>
  2. What should I consider when I select an executor for my will?

    The executor of a will is the person designated with the task of administering the will's instructions. The responsibilities ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Cover Letter

    A written document submitted with a job application explaining the applicant's credentials and interest in the open position. ...
  2. 403(b) Plan

    A retirement plan for certain employees of public schools, tax-exempt organizations and certain ministers. Generally, retirement ...
  3. Master Of Business Administration - MBA

    A graduate degree achieved at a university or college that provides theoretical and practical training to help graduates ...
  4. Liquidity Event

    An event that allows initial investors in a company to cash out some or all of their ownership shares and is considered an ...
  5. Job Market

    A market in which employers search for employees and employees search for jobs. The job market is not a physical place as ...
  6. Yuppie

    Yuppie is a slang term denoting the market segment of young urban professionals. A yuppie is often characterized by youth, ...
Trading Center