Ab Intestato Law and Legal Definition

Ab Intestato is a Latin term which means “"by intestacy." It refers to laws governing the succession of property after its previous owner dies without a valid will. The term intestate when used in regard to a person, it means not having made a legally valid will prior to death; when used in regard to property, it means not effectively disposed of by a legally valid will.

An example of a New Jersey Supreme court case using the term Ab Intestato follows:

“Regulating succession or inheritance ab intestato is a legislative province. The Legislature has plenary power over the devolution of the title and the distribution of the intestate's property; and yet, presumably, the rules of descent and distribution are in accord with the intestate's intention, for HN2the statutory intestate disposition may be defeated by the will of the owner of the property, if he possesses testamentary capacity; intestacy signifies the adoption of the legislative disposition, a conclusive presumption, although necessarily fictional in some cases: e.g., the making of a will that cannot be probated for defect of execution as laid down in the statute; or the invalidity or unenforceability of provisions intended to dispose of the property.”[In re Estate of Sapery, 147 A.2d 777, 780 (N.J. 1959)]