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.


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.

  1. Custodial Agreement

    An arrangement whereby one holds an asset or property on behalf ...
  2. Widow's Exemption

    In general terms, a widow's exemption refers to the amount that ...
  3. Estate Planning

    The collection of preparation tasks that serve to manage an individual's ...
  4. Beneficiary

    Anybody who gains an advantage and/or profits from something. ...
  5. Estate

    All of the valuable things an individual owns, such as real estate, ...
  6. Will

    A legally enforceable declaration of how a person wishes his ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Estate Planning: 16 Things To Do Before You Die

    Find out what you need to prepare to avoid serious estate planning mistakes.
  2. Retirement

    What Is A Will And Why Do I Need One?

    Putting this document together will save your family time and money, and give you peace of mind.
  3. Retirement

    6 Ways To Lose Your Estate

    Find out why you shouldn't put off putting your affairs in order.
  4. Retirement

    Why You Should Draft A Will

    Don't trust the courts to follow your wishes - plan the distribution of your own assets.
  5. Options & Futures

    Getting Started On Your Estate Plan

    With some preparation, you can save your heirs from paying a hefty estate tax. Here are some tips.
  6. Options & Futures

    Three Documents You Shouldn't Do Without

    Estate planning is not just about the division of assets after you die. Read on to save your loved ones extra grief.
  7. Retirement

    Refusing An Inheritance

    Contrary to popular belief, inheriting assets isn't always a good thing. Find out what to do if you want to disclaim them.
  8. Retirement

    Skipping-Out on Probate Costs

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

    Estate Planning Basics

    Deciding what will happen to your assets when you pass away is a must - no matter how wealthy you are.
  10. Personal Finance

    The Ten Commandments of Personal Finance

    Here are the simple financial Ten Commandments that, when faithfully followed, can lead to a secure economic future.
  1. Are estate planning fees tax deductible?

    Estate planning fees may be tax deductible, but only if certain conditions have been met. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ... 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. How much money does New York make from unclaimed property each year?

    According to the Office of the New York State Comptroller, types of unclaimed property accounts include bank accounts, wages, ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can I put my IRA in a trust?

    You cannot put your IRA in a trust while you are living. You can, however, name a trust as the beneficiary of your IRA and ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Cyber Monday

    An expression used in online retailing to describe the Monday following U.S. Thanksgiving weekend. Cyber Monday is generally ...
  2. Bar Chart

    A style of chart used by some technical analysts, on which, as illustrated below, the top of the vertical line indicates ...
  3. Take A Bath

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

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

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

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