Definition of intestate in English:



  • 1[predicative] Not having made a will before one dies.

    ‘he died intestate’
    [postpositive] ‘in the event of his death intestate’
    • ‘One thing that started to bother me was the realisation that I had made no will: I had the idea that for me to die intestate would cause all sorts of horrible complications for my wife.’
    • ‘In Spain, for example, dying intestate would oblige you to leave at least two-thirds of your property to your children - and if you have remarried or have a partner to whom you are not married, this could create difficulties.’
    • ‘Currently under English law if you die intestate (ie without a will) your estate (all of your property) will pass to those whom the law thinks should get it.’
    • ‘The problems that dying intestate can cause are vast and it can take a long time to sort out.’
    • ‘Having inherited some money from her beloved father, she was horrified to find out who it would go to if she died intestate.’
    • ‘The winding up of the estate is usually delayed when a person dies intestate, as no Executor is nominated and the Master of the High Court needs to follow certain procedures in the appointment of an Executor.’
    • ‘The Curator could also be called upon to administer, manage and discharge the debts and liabilities of any person presumed dead, intestate or if their will could not be located.’
    • ‘If you die intestate, the Succession Act provides that your spouse is entitled to your entire estate if there are no children.’
    • ‘In most cases, it is the intestate heirs - those that stand to inherit if the will were to be overturned and the decedent were to be treated as if he died intestate - that have standing.’
    • ‘Although plagued by gout, he did not anticipate his early death and died intestate in May 1781.’
    • ‘They do not have an automatic right to a share in Peter's estate unless he dies intestate.’
    • ‘If you die intestate - without having made a will - the Succession Act provides that your spouse is entitled to your entire estate if there are no children.’
    • ‘The Public Trustee knows of countless stories where the wrong people end up with the money because someone dies intestate (without a will).’
    • ‘A will can help you avoid the pitfalls of dying intestate; however, even if you have a will, your assets will still be subjected to the timely and costly probate process (court involvement).’
    • ‘If you die intestate - without making a will - the intestacy laws decide how your money is shared out in England and Wales.’
    • ‘Secondly, there are rules determining how an estate is to be distributed where the deceased died intestate.’
    • ‘If your daughter were to die intestate, or without a valid will being in place, this would create difficulties in settling her estate.’
    • ‘He had died intestate and alone leaving £9m, and a tangled relationship with his family.’
    • ‘We looked at the issues around bestowing property on another party, when people die intestate.’
    • ‘In 1994 in the New Territories, lineage leaders complained about urban and colonialist meddling when the government decided to let women inherit land when the deceased had no sons and died intestate.’
    1. 1.1[attributive]Relating to a person who dies without having made a will.
      ‘his brother's posthumous children are admissible as intestate heirs’
      • ‘It will pass according to the laws of intestate succession.’
      • ‘All children whether born within or outside a legal marriage, are entitled to share in the intestate estate.’
      • ‘National law dictates that a surviving widow is entitled to a third of intestate property, with the remaining two-thirds apportioned among the deceased's heirs, including daughters.’
      • ‘If this were to happen in the U.S., intestate succession laws would come into play, and your relatives would have to go through probate to claim ownership of assets, perhaps even fight over assets.’
      • ‘Click on the topics below for more information as to how the intestate estate will devolve.’
      • ‘If there are surviving issue of the decedent one or more of whom are not issue of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate estate.’
      • ‘The part of the intestate estate not passing to the surviving spouse under § 502 of this title, or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse, passes as follows.’
      • ‘He also put in place a temporary regime to govern intestate succession in black estates until the legislation is changed.’
      • ‘An illegitimate child had no rights of intestate succession from the estate of the father and had such rights with respect to the estate of the mother only if she had left no legitimate issue.’
      • ‘The law also, through a recent amendment gives domestic partners an intestate share equivalent to that of a spouse.’
      • ‘Formal legal codes and courts often handle these disputes and govern the disposal of property in cases of intestate succession.’
      • ‘If your will is not executed with the requisite formalities your state will most likely not recognize the Will and it will then become subject to intestate succession.’
      • ‘Check out the laws on intestate succession in your state; they're the statutes that govern if someone dies without a will.’
      • ‘The law aimed at radically excluding women from intestate succession by upholding municipal law, which excluded women, over Roman law, which did not.’
      • ‘Both landlord and tenant have legal estates which may pass to others on sale, by way of gift or under the rules of testate or intestate succession.’
      • ‘The good thing about intestate succession laws is that they usually mirror the deceased's wishes anyway.’
      • ‘A person leaving only a codicil implicitly acknowledges intestate succession for all belongings that are not left to legatees.’
      • ‘The statute then requires all state and local government officials to treat civil unions as tantamount to marriages, for purposes of child custody, divorce, intestate succession, wrongful death litigation, and so on.’
      • ‘If there are no descendants, but only a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse will inherit the entire intestate estate.’
      • ‘This case related to the Indian Succession Act which is a comprehensive law of intestate and testamentary succession.’


  • A person who has died without having made a will.

    • ‘A personal representative has an action of account as the testator or intestate might have had if he or she had lived.’
    • ‘And the observation applies equally to a share of the residue of an intestate's estate.’


Late Middle English: from Latin intestatus, from in- not + testatus testified, witness (see testate).