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What Is a Intestate? Definition, Uses and Importance.

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Intestate refers to dying without a legal will. When a person dies in intestacy, determining the distribution of the deceased’s assets then becomes the responsibility of a probate court. An intestate estate is also one in which the will presented to the court was deemed to be invalid.

What happens when someone dies intestate?

When someone does intestate their estate passes through probate. The probate will follow along with the rules, guidelines and laws of that state. Intestate succession varies based on the state where the person lived and died.

How Intestate Works

When an individual dies, his or her assets are divided among the beneficiaries listed in his or her will. In some cases, the testator or deceased does not leave a will that should contain instructions on how his or her assets should be distributed after death. When a person dies without a will, he is said to have died intestate. To have died “in intestacy” means a court-appointed administrator will compile any assets of the deceased, pay any liabilities, and distribute the remaining assets to those parties deemed as beneficiaries.

The probate process for an intestate estate includes distributing the decedent’s assets according to state laws. For instance, some states have community property laws and laws for spouses (referred to as spousal rights) and other previsions based on the laws that have passed over time. One state is not like the other when it comes to intestate succession.

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