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The description of a person who dies without making a valid will or the reference made to this condition.

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


adj. referring to a situation where a person dies without leaving a valid will. This usually is voiced as "he died intestate," "intestate estate," or "intestate succession." (See: intestacy, intestate succession)

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

INTESTATE. One who, having lawful power to make a will, has made none, or one which is defective in form. In that case, he is said to die intestate, and his estate descends to his heir at law. See Testate.
     2. This term comes from the Latin intestatus. Formerly, it was used in France indiscriminately with de confess; that is, without confession. It was regarded as a crime, on account of the omission of the deceased person to give something to the church, and was punished by privation of burial in consecrated ground. This omission, according to Fournel, Hist. des Avocats, vol. 1, p. 116, could be repaired by making an ampliative testament in the name of the deceased. See Vely, tom. 6, page 145; Henrion De Pansey, Authorite Judiciare, 129 and note. Also, 3 Mod. Rep. 59, 60, for the Law of Intestacy in England.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Thus, it has ruled that where the illegitimate child had half-brothers who were legitimate, the latter had no right to the former's inheritance; that the legitimate collateral relatives of the mother cannot succeed from her illegitimate child; that a natural child cannot represent his natural father in the succession to the estate of the legitimate grandparent; that the natural daughter cannot succeed to the estate of her deceased uncle who is a legitimate brother of her natural father; and that an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father.
Cartoncino autografo senza busta, intestato "Biblioteca Storicocritica della Letteratura Dantesca"]
Zedler's Universal Lexicon does have an entry for a jurist, 'Borcholten, (Jo.)', giving his dates as 1535-94, but the list of his legal publications does not include a book answering to this description.(9) Yet again, the Frankfurt catalogue for 1589 proves helpful, listing 'De gradibus tractatus, in quo de matrimonio & successionibus ab intestato, agitur.