What Happens if You Die Without a Will in California?

When deciding whether or not you should create a will, you may want to think about what would happen if you were to pass away without one. We all have assets that are important to us and those assets should be left to those we wish to benefit from our estate. If you have questions or concerns about creating a will, do not wait to reach out to our skilled California estate planning attorneys today.

What will happen if I die without a will in California?

In the state of California, a person who passes away without a will dies “intestate.” As a result, California laws of intestate succession will be distributed depending on who the decedent’s surviving relatives are. Determining heirs and their inheritance involves the status of the decedent’s marriage, and whether or not they have living or pre-deceased children.

If the decedent was married, the community property interest will go to the surviving spouse. The court will distribute their personal property as follows:

  1. The surviving spouse will receive all the decedent’s property if the decedent does not have any surviving children.
  2. The surviving spouse will receive ½ of the separate property if the decedent has only one surviving child, and ⅓ of the property if the decedent has two surviving children, and so on.

If the decedent was not married, the surviving children will take the decedent’s assets in equal shares. But, if there are no surviving children, the estate will go to the decedent’s parents.

In the event that the parents are deceased, the estate will go to the decedent’s brothers and sisters. If the decedent’s brothers and sisters have predeceased the decedent, their children will inherit a share of the estate.

If the decedent has no parents, brothers, or sisters, their grandparents will inherit the estate. In this case, the oldest generation with surviving children will inherit the property.

With all of the above information in mind, it is evident that intestate succession laws can cause property to be distributed in ways that the decedent may not have wanted. That is why it is critical that you create an estate plan to ensure that your assets are divided according to your wishes. If you are in this situation, however, you will need an experienced California estate planning attorney to walk you through each step of the way. Contact our firm today to get started.

Contact our Firm

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most. Do not delay. Estate planning is a more urgent matter than you may think. You never know what the future holds. Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.

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