Testate vs Intestate: What You Need To Know

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Testate vs Intestate - Intestate vs Testate - Intestate Definition - Testate Definition - Testate Meaning - Died Testate - Testate Succession

Trying to figure out the difference between testate vs intestate? 

And what testate vs testate means for your family’s inheritance?

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • what is testate
  • what is intestate
  • the probate process for intestate vs testate
  • when you lose control of your inheritance

So, let’s dig in. 

When the courts appoint an administrator to an estate, they can choose anyone. This includes creditors or third-party companies. Meaning you and your family lose all control over the estate.

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Testate vs Intestate

Testate vs intestate indicate whether a person died with or without a will

Testate vs intestate indicates how the estate gets probated. 

Related: Consequences Of Not Probating A Will

Testate Definition

Testate means that the person has died with a will

The courts will probate the estate per the will’s instructions. 

Since there is a will, the will appoints an executor for the estate. 

The executor has to distribute the estate per the will. 

Related: How Long Do You Have To Probate A Will?

Intestate Definition

Intestate means that a person died without a will. 

When someone dies without a will, the courts refer to the intestate laws. 

They will probate the estate based on the intestacy laws in your state. 

Intestacy laws are different in every state. 

(More on this below.)

With intestate, the courts will appoint an administrator vs an executor

The administrator will determine how the assets get distributed. 

Related: How To File A Will

Key Takeaways

  • Testate vs intestate indicate whether a person died with or without a will. 
  • Intestate means the person died without a will. 
  • An administrator handles probate and determines how to distribute assets with intestate. 
  • Testate means the person died with a will. An executor handles probate. 
  • An executor handles probate and distribute assets per the will with intestate. 

Intestate vs Testate

Intestate vs testate have two different processes. 

But, in some ways, intestate vs testate has some of the same processes. 

Let’s dig into the processes for testate vs intestate. 

Testate Meaning

Testate meaning is that someone has died with a will. 

And that the probate process will follow the will’s instructions. 

Meaning that the estate gets distributed per the will. 

For testate, the probate process is that the:

  • executor has to file the will
  • executor has to validate the will
  • courts appoint the executor (yes, the executor files the will before being appointed)
  • executor notifies the beneficiaries 
  • executor pays off debts owed
  • executor distributes the remaining assets
  • executor closes the estate

Related: Executor Not Communicating With Beneficiaries

Intestate Meaning

Intestate meaning is that someone died without a will

And that the probate process will follow the intestacy laws of their state. 

And the estate will get distributed per the intestacy laws of that state. 

For intestate, the probate process is that:

  • probate needs to get filed
  • the judge will choose a family member or 3rd party to be the executor
  • the administrator will pay off debts owed from the estate
  • the administrator will distribute the estate per the judge’s orders
  • the administrator will close the estate

Related: What An Executor Cannot Do

Testate vs Intestate

Let’s dig a tad deeper on testate vs intestate.

We already know that testate vs intestate is whether or not the person had a will. 

For testate (had a will), the executor’s responsibility is probating the will

So, it’s their responsibility to find the will and file it with the petition for probate.

To validate the will, the two witnesses need to verify the signature. 

But what if it’s intestate because there was no will?

Someone in the family has to file a Petition For Probate

But you don’t have a will, so you won’t file that with the petition

After this, the administrator will get appointed for the probate process. 

Related: What If The Executor Does Not Probate The Will

What To Do If You Have Testate Vs Intestate

If you want the best probate attorneys to represent you, fill out the form below.

We have the experience needed to ensure that your rights are protected.

This means that you don’t wrongfully lose assets to creditors.

We also make sure that the probate process is smooth and fair.

This means you don’t get raked over the coals financially.

After you fill out the form below, we will set up your free consultation.

Talk soon.

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