Testacy refers to the condition of leaving a valid will. It is compared to intestacy, in which someone dies without a valid will and their estate passes under state laws of descent and distribution. Dying testate does not allow the beneficiaries to avoid probate court, but does allow the executor of the will to present the will in probate court.
A formal testacy proceeding is conducted to establish a will or determine intestacy. Testacy laws are different for each state and determine several different legal issues associated with wills. They cover issues like:
- Whether a will is actually valid;
- Clarifying the directions contained in the will, including how and to whom the property will be distributed.
[Last updated in October of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]