Before a probate case in California can be filed, a determination must be made as to whether the person who passed away died “testate” or “intestate”.
“Testate” means that the person who died had a valid will.
The will must be located and included with the petition for probate. The instructions in the will must be followed in determining how the estate will be distributed.
If the person died “intestate”, it means he or she died without a will.