If you die without a will or a trust, you would die intestate, and the state would take over under these circumstances. Property that was in your direct and sole personal possession at the time of your passing would become probate property, and after debts were paid, it would be distributed under the intestate succession laws of the state of California.
To provide an overview of these laws, if you died with a surviving spouse but no living descendents, siblings or parents, your spouse would inherit all of your intestate property. Your children would inherit everything if you died without a spouse still living.
If you pass away intestate with a spouse and children still living, your spouse would get all of your community property and either one half or one third of your intestate property, and your children would inherit the rest.
You may assume that your spouse would inherit everything under intestate succession laws if you had no children even if you have parents still living. In fact, this is not the case. Your spouse would inherit all of the community property, but your spouse and your parents would divide your personal property equally.
These are a few common scenarios, but there is a pecking order at as it were with regard to how assets would be distributed among relatives under intestate succession laws. If someone was to pass away intestate with no living relatives at all, even distant relatives, the state would absorb your probate property using escheat laws.
Most people would prefer to make their own estate planning decisions. If the state is forced to use intestate succession laws to distribute probate property, your true wishes may not be honored, and some of your loved ones may be left out in the cold.
Some people understand the fact that they should put an estate plan in place, but they procrastinate because they do not know how to proceed. To a certain extent, this is understandable, but when you don’t know how to do something for yourself, you typically engage professional assistance.
Our firm can help if you are ready to take action to protect your entire family. We offer free consultations, and we provide each and every one of our clients with personalized attention, because your estate plan should be custom crafted to suit your particular needs.
If you would like to set up an appointment, send us a message through our contact page: Los Angeles CA Estate Planning Attorneys.
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