Testate means having a legal will. For a will to be legal and valid it must be written and notarized. The will should fully cover the details of your estate and distribution to beneficiaries after death. The person acting as a witness for this legal contract is also an important factor in its validity- make sure you choose someone who can legally act as a testamentary executor or trustee if necessary. If there is no witness and notary, then the will can be disputed and termed intestate.
Testate is different then intestate
“Testate” means that a legal will exists for an estate at the time when the estate owner passes away. While “intestate” means there is no valid will. When someone passes away without a will it is intestate.
Testate and Intestate can both go through probate
If you want your estate to avoid probate testate and intestate is not the most important thing. Making sure that all of your assets have a beneficiary or pass-through right of survivorship with a clear designation for who the assets will pass to after you die is what allows an estate to avoid probate.« Back to Glossary Index