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What Does "Intestate Succession" Mean?

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If you die without a Will, you die "intestate". Your estate (other than jointly held property, retirement plans (i.e. IRAs, 401(k) plans, etc.) with designated beneficiaries, or life insurance policies with designated beneficiaries) is administered and distributed in accordance with the state’s intestacy laws. If your property is distributed pursuant to the intestacy laws, the wrong people may receive your property or they may receive the wrong amount. When you die without a Will, the Court will choose an administrator - sometimes a stranger - to oversee your property. An agreement among your nearest relatives as to who will be administrator may be required. If you die without a Will, the Surrogate will request that the person(s) seeking to be appointed administrator post a fiduciary bond to insure the proper administration of your estate. Your estate may also incur additional costs in selecting a guardian for your minor children. Additional expenses of administration and the ... more
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