Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having made no legal will: an intestate parent.
  • adj. Not disposed of by a legal will: intestate lands.
  • n. One who dies without a legal will.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Without a valid will indicating whom to leave one's estate to after death.
  • adj. Not devised or bequeathed; not disposed of by will.
  • n. A person who dies without making a valid will.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Without having made a valid will; without a will.
  • adj. Not devised or bequeathed; not disposed of by will.
  • n. A person who dies without making a valid will.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having made no will, or no valid will; having left property not effectually disposed of by will.
  • Not disposed of by will; not legally devised or bequeathed: as, an intestate estate.
  • n. A person dying without making a valid will, or leaving any property not effectually bequeathed.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having made no legally valid will before death or not disposed of by a legal will

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French intestat, from Latin intestātus : in-, not; see in-1 + testātus, testate, from past participle of testārī, to make a will; see testament.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • This removed land in intestate estates from the repercussions of primogeniture and stipulated a division along the same lines as chattels: one-third to the widow for her lifetime, ultimately to devolve to the children of the marriage; two-thirds equally divided among the children.

    Gutenber-e Help Page

  • Declaring that primogeniture and impartible inheritance were inappropriate for Newfoundland circumstances, the act provided that real property in intestate estates should be distributed, like personal property, as chattel interests.

    Gutenber-e Help Page

  • Even before the passage of the Chattels Real Act, however, southern Avalon courts had tended to favor the distribution of real property in intestate estates as chattels real.

    Gutenber-e Help Page

  • In the petition filed by Michael's parents to probate his estate, they claim he died "intestate" - without making a will.

    The Bosh

  • If your husband died intestate, that is, without a will, then a court will decide what you get and what your children, or his mother, will receive.

    Illness doesn't mean relatives can rush to lay claim on house and avoid Medicaid

  • Even at the very end of the period, probably less than five percent of the persons who died in the typical county, in any one year, left wills that passed through probate.43 Even fewer of those who died intestate, that is, without wills, left estates that were formally administered.

    A History of American Law

  • "With your parents dead intestate, that is, without leaving a will, and your nearest relative perfectly willing and able to assume guardianship, you cannot legally remain with-these people."

    The Gates Of Sleep

  • If you die without a will "intestate," in legalese, state law will determine how most of your belongings are distributed, and it may not be in the way you'd want.

    How To Do Estate Planning On The Cheap

  • If you die without a will "intestate," in legalese, state law will determine how most of your belongings are distributed, and it may not be in the way you'd want.

    How To Do Estate Planning On The Cheap

  • HERMAN: But Fred this is the issue here, she apparently intestate, meaning she died without a will.

    CNN Transcript Feb 10, 2007

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