ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Intestate (meaning and examples)

Updated on October 24, 2010

Meaning of intestate

Intestate (pronounced in-TESS-tate) means having died without leaving a will or a trust that will instruct how your possessions will be divided among your heirs after you die.

It is an adjective that can be used to describe a person:

Marilyn died intestate, leaving no will that would say how her property would be dealt with after her death.

or it can describe things:

Marilyn's possessions are intestate, since she did not have a will at the time of her death.

The noun form of intestate is intestacy.

Image courtesy of NAFEP
Image courtesy of NAFEP

Examples of intestacy

The two most common scenarios where a person will have died intestate are:

  • they did not have a will or trust
  • the will or trust turns out to be invalid

The person who has written a will for himself/herself is called a testator. For a will to be valid:

  • The testator must make it clear that the document is his/her will and that he/she has written it; this is usually called "publication" of the will, and it is typically done by titling the document "last will and testament"
  • The testator must declare that all previous wills and codicils (amendments to a will) are hereby revoked. Otherwise, the newer will revokes previous wills and codicils only where they are inconsistent with each other. (If the newer will is completely inconsistent with the previous will and/or codicils, then the older wills/codicils are rendered revoked by implication)
  • The testator must affirm that he/she has the ability to dispose of his property with his/her free will.
  • The testator must sign and date the will, typically witnessed by two people who are not beneficiaries. Anything written after the testator's signature will be rendered invalid.
  • The will must be written with the assistance of an attorney if the testator is under 18 years old.

Consequences of intestacy

If a person or estate is intestate, then the disposition of that person's or estate's possessions are handled by probate law. A court proceeding will determine how the intestate possessions will be divided among heirs, creditors, and anyone else who has a rightful claim to some of the intestate possessions.

Because this process is expensive, lengthy, and can sometimes get ugly (especially with unscrupulous descendants, or con artists), dying intestate is something that should be avoided.

Writing a last will, or setting up a living trust before death, ensures that the process of transfer of possessions will happen inexpensively, quickly, and without abuse or rancor among family members.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      My grand mother wrote a Will to her 9 children in kerala, my Mother died before my grand mothers death and no new will was written. Now what will be the status of the will and whther i have share in it? and how?

    • profile image

      Suzie B 

      7 years ago

      Always remember that a Will does not mean avoiding Probate. A Will is instructions to a Judge. To avoid Probate, you must have anything in your name quit claimed to you AND a person of your choosing, so that when you pass, it automatically becomes that person's property. This avoids probate.

    • profile image

      annatte akama 

      7 years ago

      detailed description,informative yet very simple to understand.its a good research site.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      7 years ago from Deep South, USA

      A will, unfortunately, can't guarantee there won't be "rancor among family members." It depends upon who gets what....I've observed some pretty ugly quarrels among family members who weren't in agreement with the terms of someone's will.

      However, anyone who owns property should have a will to avoid letting the state make the decision of what happens to his or her possessions.


    • profile image

      vinay maurya 

      8 years ago

      so good content..........very nice discription.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)