What does “intestate” mean?
1.not having made a Will e.g.to die intestate
2.not disposed of by Will e.g. his property remains intestate
3.a person who dies intestate
The word ‘intestate’ is interesting because it is both an adjective and a noun. It can be used a number of ways, all of which relate to dying without leaving a valid Will. A person who passes away without a Will is known as an ‘intestate’. Having died intestate, they leave behind an intestate estate. Without a Will directing how the estate is to be distributed, the laws of the State come into play.
What happens to the estate?
The estate does not automatically go to the State, as is often wrongly assumed. Instead, it will be distributed to the deceased’s relatives according to the predetermined rules set out in the Succession Act 2006. A remaining spouse will be entitled to the estate first, followed by any children if the spouse has also passed away. If there are no children, the deceased’s parents, siblings, grandparents, and aunts and uncles will then be eligible in that order to receive the estate.
Don’t let it happen to you!
The way the law of intestacy works means that if you don’t leave a Will, your estate may be distributed in a way that you did not intend. It may not reflect your wishes to provide for the people you care about, nor reflect family dynamics and the realities of your life as it is. That’s why everyone needs to make a Will – to give peace of mind to yourself and your loved ones, knowing that they will be provided for.
No one knows the day or the hour, so don’t leave writing your Will until it’s too late!