What Does Intestate Mean?

An adverb that describes a person who dies without having a valid Will in effect (“Bill died intestate”), or an adjective that describes the estate of such a person (“an intestate estate has been opened for Bill”). 

It can also be a delightful question to ask after a cocktail party has been underway for a period of time: “By the way, I used to be intestate, but last Thursday I officially became testate, and so did Barbara.  How many of you are currently intestate?”

Notes: Unless a Small Estate Affidavit can be utilized, an Intestate estate can require Probate.  Please see our Glossary for a more detailed description of how the Probate of an Intestate estate works.  Please also see the sample of the Last Will and Testament that is provided by the State of Illinois for all Decedents who die Intestate—it is located in the Resources Section of our Website.