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Describing a person who dies without a will. When an intestate person passes away, his/her assets are distributed to the next of kin and/or the state according to the law where the intestate person lived. It is important to note that courts do not take into account the intestate person's wishes in this circumstance.


Of, relating to, or being an individual who has died without leaving a valid will. In such a case, the estate of the deceased is distributed according to the laws of the state in which he or she resided.


A person who dies without a will is said to have died intestate.

In this case, the probate court in the person's home state -- sometimes known as surrogate's court or orphan's court -- determines who has the right to inherit the person's assets and who should be named guardian of any minor children.

The process, known as administration, can be time consuming and expensive, and the outcome may or may not reflect what the intestate person would have wanted.


Without a will. All states have laws specifying the rules of intestate succession, or who will receive property, and in what shares, when someone dies without a will. If there is no one to inherit,then the property escheats to the state.