If you die without having made a will (also known as dying “intestate”), the probate court will appoint a personal representative for your estate. This representative is frequently known as an “administrator.” The administrator will receive creditors’ claims against your estate, pay debts, and distribute your remaining property according to the laws of your state. There are many differences between dying testate and dying intestate. The main difference, however, is that an intestate estate is distributed to beneficiaries according to the distribution plan established by state law; a testate estate is distributed according to the decedent’s instructions provided in the decedent’s will. For more detailed information about intestacy, see the heading “Intestacy” in the Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law.