intestate

1 of 2

adjective

in·​tes·​tate in-ˈte-ˌstāt How to pronounce intestate (audio)
-stət
1
: having made no valid will
died intestate
2
: not disposed of by will
an intestate estate

intestate

2 of 2

noun

: one who dies intestate

Did you know?

Intestate was borrowed into English in the 14th century from Latin intestatus, which was itself formed by combining the prefix in- ("not") and the adjective testatus, meaning "having left a valid will." Testatus, in turn, derives from the past participle of the verb testari, meaning "to make a will." Approximately a century later, English speakers returned to testatus to coin the word testate, which also means "having left a valid will." Other descendants of testari in English include detest, protest, and testament, as well as testator ("a person who dies leaving a will or testament in force"). The antonym of testator is the noun intestate, meaning "one who dies without a will."

Examples of intestate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
However, if a person dies and a will is not found within six months, the intestate succession laws decide which family members will inherit the estate. Branded Content Contributor, Orange County Register, 19 Nov. 2019 The laws of intestate succession typically put any children first in line, followed by parents. Liz Weston, latimes.com, 1 Apr. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'intestate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English, from Latin intestatus, from in- + testatus testate

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1658, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of intestate was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near intestate

Cite this Entry

“Intestate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intestate. Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

intestate

adjective
in·​tes·​tate
in-ˈtes-ˌtāt,
-ˈtes-tət
1
: not having made a will
he died intestate
2
: not disposed of by will
intestate personal property
intestacy
-ˈtes-tə-sē
noun

Legal Definition

intestate

1 of 2 adjective
in·​tes·​tate in-ˈtes-ˌtāt How to pronounce intestate (audio)
1
: having not made a valid will
died intestate
2
: not disposed of by a valid will
intestate property
an intestate estate
specifically : transmitted according to statutory rules governing intestate succession
3
: of or relating to intestate succession
intestate laws

intestate

2 of 2 noun
: a person who dies intestate
Etymology

Adjective

Latin intestatus, from in- not + testatus testate

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