What happens if you pass away without a will or trust in California? Do your family members automatically inherit your estate? Estates entering probate without a will are subject to California intestate succession laws. The probate court will determine how much of your assets to divide between your spouse or children through these laws.
If you pass away without a will or trust, the legal term is “dying intestate.” Your assets will enter probate for the court to pay final expenses, creditors, taxes, and other debts your estate owes. The remaining assets will then be subject to intestate succession laws for the order of inheritance.
To avoid having the probate court decide which family members will inherit from your estate, create a will or trust with an experienced estate planning attorney. A trust automatically bypasses probate and never enters the public record. Wills enter probate and become a matter of public record as part of the court filing procedure.
The court will appoint a personal estate representative to document and evaluate the decedent’s assets, deal with creditor claims, manage the decedent’s assets through probate, and administer the estate according to California intestate succession laws.
Some assets will not enter probate, including accounts and insurance policies with a named beneficiary. Assets that bypass probate include:
But what about the rest of your assets? California’s laws for intestate succession list how your surviving spouse and other family members may inherit from your estate.
California intestate succession laws determine which surviving family members automatically inherit a share of your estate if you pass away without a will. Assets that the probate court doesn’t use to pay your final obligations will be passed on to your family members in the following order:
Contact a knowledgeable estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo to avoid subjecting your family members to California intestate succession laws. We can help you create a will or trust to designate beneficiaries of your estate in the greater Los Angeles area. Call us today at 818-676-9572 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our firm in Woodland Hills, CA.