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When a person who dies without a will is said to have died "intestate" simply meaning without out will. When someone dies intestate State laws called "intestate succession" direct where and to whom the estate assets go.
The estate goes through an intestate probate. If there is a surviving spouse the spouse and no children the surviving spouse gets everything. If there are children the surviving spouse gets the first $50,000 then 1/2 of the remaining estate and the children get the other remaining half.
In general, if there is no surviving spouse but children, the estate passes to the children. If no spouse nor children, then to the parents of the deceased. If no children, no parents then to the siblings. If no children, parents or siblings then to the grandparents and if that they are not surviving then to aunts and uncles.
Bot***** *****ne is the property is based according to succession laws New York Estates, Powers and Trusts Law § 4-1.1 Descent and distribution of a decedent's estate - See more at: http://codes.findlaw.com/ny/estates-powers-and-trusts-law/ept-sect-4-1-1.html#sthash.Rq9aybh8.dpuf.
The intestate succession is only probate assets. If for example property is held jointly with right of survivorship then the property transfers to the joint owner without passing through probate. This is also true is there is a payable on death account or designated beneficiary or a retirement account or life insurance policy.
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