When you look into the subject, you find that the majority of American adults are unprepared when it comes to estate planning. This is a perplexing phenomenon, because everyone is going to pass away, and estate planning is something that you do for the benefit of the people that you love the most.
If you were to die without a will or trust, the condition of intestacy would be the result. There are certain types of property transfers that would take place organically if you did not have a will or trust.
For example, if you had a life insurance policy, the beneficiary would be paid by the company that you bought the policy from, and this would actually be true even if you did have a will or a trust.
When you open an account at a bank or brokerage, you can add a beneficiary. This is called a payable on death account or Totten trust. After your death, the beneficiary would assume ownership of anything that remains in the account. Once again, this would be true if you died intestate, but it would also be true if you did in fact have a will or trust.
Joint tenancy is the condition of co-ownership. Property that is held in joint tenancy would go to the joint tenant after your passing, whether you had estate planning documents or not.
Property that was in your direct personal possession at the time of your passing would become probate property. If you did not have a will or trust, the probate court would use the intestate succession laws of the state of California to determine the rightful heirs to your estate.
Each state has slightly different laws with regard to intestate succession. In California, if you had children living but no surviving spouse or parents, your children would inherit all of your probate property.
If you had no children, parents, or siblings still living, but you had a surviving spouse, your spouse would inherit everything.
These are a couple of simple examples, but there are rules that govern each type of family dynamic that may exist after an individual dies intestate.
Estate Planning Report
Dying intestate is not an option for responsible adults. We have prepared an in-depth report that explains why estate planning is important, and you can access your copy free of charge through this website.
To obtain your copy of the special report, visit this page: Free Estate Planning Report.
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If you are interested in the possibility of working with our firm after learning these facts, please select our “Workshops” tab to RSVP for a free estate planning workshop. At that workshop you will be offered a free one-hour consultation with an attorney: www.collinslawgroup.com/seminars/