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The state or condition of dying without having made a valid will or without having disposed by will of a segment of the property of the decedent.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. the condition of having died without a valid will. In such a case if the dead party has property it will be distributed according to statutes, primarily by the law of descent and distribution and others dealing with marital property and community property (all going to a surviving spouse). In probate the administration of the estate of a person without a will is handled by an administrator (usually a close relative, the spouse, a close associate), or a public administrator if there is no one willing to act, since there is no executor named in a will. In most states an administrator must petition the court to be appointed and must post a bond from an insurance company guaranteeing that it will pay the value of the assets he/she/it may steal or misuse. (See: will, intestate, probate)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


the state of dying, leaving property undisposed of by will. This may be because the testator has failed to make a will at all or because his will does not make any effective disposition of property (total intestacy) or because his will effectively disposes of some, but not all, of his property (partial intestacy). The distribution of the intestate estate is made according to detailed rules.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

INTESTACY. The state or condition of dying without a will.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Wendy Edwards, an associate solicitor within Archers' wills, probate and trusts team, said: "The changes to the intestacy rules do make things simpler in some cases.
Your beneficiaries under the intestacy rules could be under the age of 18 and therefore applications to the Court of Protection may be needed for business decisions to be taken or your business interest could end up passing to someone who is not interested in the business and would be detrimental to the business moving forward.
Mr Jones, assistant solicitor at Worcestershire-based mfg Solicitors, said: "The intestacy rules have been in place for many years and an update and clarification has been a long time coming.
In summary, it remains as important as ever to ensure you have a valid Will - and that you review it regularly to make sure it is up-to-date - because without one, the intestacy rules apply, which is likely to result in the estate not being distributed as you would have wanted and in some cases people you would have liked to benefit may not be entitled to receive anything at all.
For example, in the unfortunate case that one of them should pass away without making a will, then intestacy rules will affect the way the business is run.
It is important to remember that, should you successfully prove that the Will is invalid, any earlier Will will stand or, the absence of an earlier Will, the intestacy rules will apply.
A RECENT survey suggests intestacy rules - which govern how estates are divided up when someone who has not made a will dies - should be updated.
Under the intestacy rules which operate when a person has not made a will, stepchildren are not entitled to inherit a person's estate.
A YOU will receive everything you own jointly but assets in only your husband's name will be governed by intestacy rules, in which you are entitled to the first pounds 250,000.
On the death of one partner, they will be able to claim pension rights and bereavement benefits, compensation for fatal accidents or criminal injuries, recognition under inheritance and intestacy rules, the right to register their partner's death and be able to continue tenancy of a property.
Assuming your father is no longer alive you will each get half her estate under the intestacy rules when she dies.
Whilst it is true that some wills have been challenged in the courts, this is still quite a rare occurrence, and unless your wishes match exactly the intestacy rules applicable if you die without a will, it is definitely worth the relatively minor expense.