in·​tes·​ta·​cy in-ˈte-stə-sē How to pronounce intestacy (audio)
: the quality or state of being or dying intestate

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The case involves legal interpretations related to wills and a legal concept called intestacy. Jim Saunders, Orlando Sentinel, 18 Oct. 2022 The district judge, magistrate judge and administrative law judge concluded that, under Florida law, a child conceived after the father’s death, could inherit property only through a will and not intestacy, according to the appeals court. Jim Saunders, Orlando Sentinel, 18 Oct. 2022 The failures of intestacy laws reveal the limits in how our legal system characterizes the family unit. Michael Waters, The Atlantic, 17 May 2022

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intestacy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1767, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of intestacy was in 1767

Dictionary Entries Near intestacy

Cite this Entry

“Intestacy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 2023.

Legal Definition


in·​tes·​ta·​cy in-ˈtes-tə-sē How to pronounce intestacy (audio)
plural intestacies
: the state of dying intestate : an intestate state or condition
the invalidation of the will resulted in her intestacy
: intestate succession at succession
wills should be construed to avoid intestacy whenever possibleSmith v. Estate of Peters, 741 P.2d 1172 (1987)
the remaining property passed by intestacy to the heirs

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