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intestacy

n. the condition of having died without a valid will. In such a case if the dead party has property it will be distributed according to statutes, primarily by the law of descent and distribution and others dealing with marital property and community property. In probate the administration of the estate of a person without a will is handled by an administrator (usually a close relative, the spouse, a close associate) or a public administrator if there is no one willing to act, since there is no executor named in a will. In most states an administrator must petition the court to be appointed and must post a bond from an insurance company guaranteeing that it will pay the value of the assets he/she/it may steal or misuse.

See also: intestate  probate  will 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications