What are intestacy statutes?
Most states have laws known as intestacy statutes which dictate how probate property should be distributed when the deceased died intestate (as opposed to having left a legally valid will). These intestacy statutes provide a general simplicity and predictability for what will happen to estates when there is no will, and also help to cut down on the amount of litigation that arises over the disposal of an estate.
Because each state has its own intestacy statute, you have to look at the probate code of whichever state applies in any given situation to determine precisely how the intestate property will be distributed. The process can get rather complicated based on whether or not there is a surviving spouse, surviving children, surviving parents or siblings, etc. In addition, there are several ways that property can be distributed, and these differ from state to state as well. These methods of distribution include right of representation distribution, per capita with representation distribution, and per capita at each generation distribution.