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What happens if you die without a will in California?

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2022 | Estate Planning |

When you die intestate (without leaving a will), the distribution of your estate to loved ones will be guided by state law. It is a situation millions of American families find themselves in, given that most people do not have a will when they pass away.

Let’s look at how California intestate succession law determines how your estate will be shared among your family if you die intestate.

Intestate succession in California explained

California’s Intestate succession laws specify the order in which spouses, children, siblings and next of kin will inherit your estate. The portion each potential beneficiary will end up with depends on whether there are other surviving dependents. Here are some important things to note.

  • Your spouse will not automatically inherit everything unless there are no surviving relatives.
  • People not related by blood cannot be named heirs with intestate succession.
  • All of your children will receive an equal share.
  • Your estate will become state property if there are no heirs or none can be located.

Intestate succession covers all property you own other than assets that are jointly owned, held in a trust or property with a beneficiary designation such as life insurance.

Save your loved ones the trouble by not dying intestate

You will have no say in how your estate will be distributed if you don’t have at least a will. In addition, it could prevent some people from receiving anything from your estate. This can be an issue, especially among unmarried couples.

Therefore, it is prudent to have a solid estate plan and ensure they all of your documents are up-to-date to avoid such a scenario. It will save your loved ones a lot of headache when you are gone and give you peace of mind knowing that you have their interests covered.

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