Intestacy: when the decedent passed away without a last will and testament. This is known as dying intestate.
Testacy: when the decedent passed away with a last will and testament. This is known as dying testate.
If the Decedent dies testate with a valid will but those named to be the personal representative are unable to serve in that capacity:
· A Petition for Probate of Will & Letters of Administration With Will Annexed is filed, and an Administrator With Will Annexed is appointed:
- The Personal Representative is an appointed “Administrator”
- The distributees are beneficiaries, who take under the will.
If the Decedent dies testate with a valid will naming a Personal Representative who is able to serve, but all decedent’s beneficiaries have died before the decedent:
· A Petition for Probate of Will & Letters Testamentary is filed, and an executor(trix) is appointed
· The personal representative is a named “Executor(trix)”
· The distributees will be decedent’s heirs, who take according to state statute
Below is a chart with additional comparisons between Testate and Intestate:
|Died with a valid Will||No valid Will|
|Will was signed by the Testator (person who made the Will)||—|
|“Testate” Decedent with a “Testate” Estate (with a Will)||“Intestate” Decedent, having an “Intestate” Estate (without a Will)|
|Petition for Probate of Will & Letters Testamentary||Petition for Letters of Administration|
|“Executor” of Will||“Administrator” of the Estate|
|Personal Representative was named in the Will||Personal Representative is appointed according to Priority List in State Statute|
|Distributees (a person entitled to take or share in the property of a decedent) are called “Beneficiaries”||Distributees are “Heirs” or “Heirs-at-Law”|
|Distributees are named in the Will||Distributees are determined by State statute|
|Beneficiaries receive whole items||Heirs receive shares of the Estate|