The University of North Carolina assigns as error the trial court’s ruling that decedent’s certificates of deposit were among property that was not specifically devised. The trial court’s ruling resulted in the certificates of deposit passing by intestate succession rather than passing to the University under the will. The issue here is whether the term “remaining cash and bonds” in Item V of the will includes decedent’s certificates of deposit. We hold that “remaining cash and bonds” includes certificates of deposit.
While, as might be anticipated, the cases are not always consistent, the weight of authority seems to be that the word or *431term “cash” as used in a will includes bank accounts, both checking and savings and includes certificates of deposit. See Annotation, “What Passes Under Terms ‘Cash, ’ ‘Cash On Hand, ’ or ‘Cash Assets’ ” In Will, 27 ALR3d 1406. It has been held that the basic principles which govern other types of bank deposits are applicable to certificates of deposit. 10 Am. Jur. 2d, Banks, Sec. 455. Under generally accepted rules of accounting, certificates of deposit are generally regarded as a specie of cash. See Wilson, Kell & Bedford, Accountant’s Handbook, Sec. 10-2 (5th ed. 1970). Black’s Law Dictionary defines “certificate of deposit” as “[a] written acknowledgment by a bank or banker of a deposit with promise to pay to depositor, to his order, or to some other person or to his order.” Black’s Law Dictionary, 205 (5th ed. 1979). Black’s defines “cash” as “[m]oney or the equivalent; usually ready money. Currency and coins, negotiable checks, and balances in bank accounts. That which circulates as money.” Black’s Law Dictionary, 196 (5th ed. 1979).
Thus, it appears that the word “cash” is not such a technical one that it will have the same definite and precise meaning in all circumstances. In Heyer v. Bullock, 210 N.C. 321, 186 S.E. 356 (1936), Chief Justice Stacy aptly refers to Justice Holmes’ insightful observation that “[A] word is not a crystal, transparent and unchangeable; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances ... in which it is used.” We cannot, therefore, resolve the use of the words “other cash,” as used in Mildred Wilson’s will, by resorting to a narrow, technical definition or interpretation. As instructed by Chief Justice Stacy in Heyer, supra, we must look for the meaning of these words according to the subject treated and the context in which they were used.
It is an elemental rule of construction that the intention of the testator is the polar star which must guide the courts in the interpretation of wills. Pittman v. Thomas, 307 N.C. 485, 299 S.E.2d 207 (1983), and cases cited and relied on therein. See also Wachovia Bank & Trust Co. v. Bryant, 258 N.C. 482, 128 S.E.2d 758 (1963).
The intent of the testatrix must be gathered from the four corners of the will and the circumstances attending its execution. Pittman, supra. “Circumstances attendant” include the relationship between the testatrix and the beneficiaries named in the will, and the nature and extent of the testator’s property. Pittman, supra.
*432In the case now before us, the testatrix was not survived by a spouse or lineal descendants. Her next of kin were all cousins, the record not disclosing their degree of kin. Ms. Wilson’s will provided for her cousins, her gifts varying from small to quite large, one cousin receiving property of value well in excess of one hundred thousand dollars.
Ms. Wilson disposed of her entire estate, a circumstance which invokes another basic rule of construction of wills that in searching for the testatrix’s intent, the courts are guided by the presumption that one who makes a will does not intend to die intestate as to any part of her property. Wing v. Wachovia Bank & Trust Co., 301 N.C. 456, 272 S.E.2d 90 (1980). Ms. Wilson’s will was carefully and, for a lay person, artfully drafted. It is not reasonable to infer that she intended that almost one-half of her considerable estate — nearly one-half million dollars in value —be left adrift in the unchartered and uncertain seas of intestacy.
We hold that Ms. Wilson’s will must be construed to bequeath her certificates of deposit to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The judgment below is deemed modified to so provide. In all other respects, the judgment is affirmed.
Affirmed in part; reversed and modified in part.
Judge EAGLES dissents.
Judge Lewis concurs.