What Happens If I Die Without Creating an Estate Plan?

person holding money

When you create an estate plan of your own, you end up getting full control over what happens to your assets and what your loved ones receive when you pass away. If you pass away before you have made a legally binding will and plan, then your wishes and desires do not really matter anymore. Your assets will be passed down in accordance with state laws, and that may make some people unhappy. This is why you should talk to a Woodland Hills, California estate planning attorney from our firm and put your plans into writing as soon as possible.

Does My Family Have to Fight Over Assets If There is No Estate Plan?

If you die without creating an estate plan, there are laws in place to determine how property and assets are divided up. Your assets go to your closest relatives under the state of California’s “intestate succession” laws.

So your family does not have to go to war over your assets just because you never bothered to create an estate plan. However, you cannot be sure that the entire family is going to be happy with how this process goes. This can create a lot of stress for your loved ones, which is a big reason why we recommend making a plan of your own.

Who Gets My Assets According to California Intestacy Laws?

The probate court judge will look at any assets you left behind and potential beneficiaries. Then it will split up assets in a way that seems fair, favoring the closest relatives. The spouse or children get first priority. A spouse will receive all assets that pass by intestate succession if there are no children. The children will inherit everything if there is no living spouse. If there is a living spouse and children, the spouse will get all community property and half of your separate property with your children getting the rest.

If someone does not have a spouse or children to pass assets down to, a probate court could decide to award property to your parents or siblings. Your parents or siblings can also get a cut of your assets if you have a surviving spouse but no children.

What If I Wanted to Use an Estate Plan to Set Up a Trust?

Unfortunately, this probate process does not allow you to do anything other than pass down assets that did not have a defined beneficiary already. If you had plans to do something else, like establishing a trust, but you do not have anything concrete written down in an estate plan, that is too bad. If you want to establish a trust, like one that could be used to take care of a minor child or a loved one with special needs, you absolutely need to talk to an estate planning lawyer.

Schedule Your Consultation

Remember that having an estate plan is not just a necessity for the extremely wealthy. Contact the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman and schedule a consultation to learn more about how you can benefit from creating an estate plan of your own. We look forward to helping you.

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