What is escheat?
When someone dies intestate (without leaving behind a legally valid will) and the state intestacy statutes do not apply (for example, where there are no surviving relatives), the deceased’s property will go to the state government through a process known as escheat. Escheat simply means that property goes to the government of the state in which the property is physically located. So if someone died intestate in Colorado, with no living relatives, his house in Colorado would go to the Colorado state government. If he also owned property in Montana, that property would got to the Montana government as a result of the escheat process, even though the deceased lived and resided in Colorado.