One of the main reasons people choose to create a last will and testament or living trust is because they wish to avoid California’s intestacy laws. Like all other states, California has laws that dictate who will inherit your property should you die without a will, known as laws of intestacy or intestate succession.
Creating a will or living trust allows you to choose who will inherit your property. Here is what you need to know about intestacy in California.
You don’t get to choose.
The main point of creating a will, or other estate planning device such as a living trust, is that it allows you to make choices about how you want to pass along inheritances. If you don’t make this choice the state’s laws do it for you. These laws establish an inheritance plan that applies to all intestate estates automatically.
Your closest relatives inherit first.
Depending on who survives you after you die, your estate will go to your closest relatives. For example, if you leave behind children but no spouse, your children will inherit your property, dividing it equally between them. If you aren’t married and you don’t have any children but leave behind parents, your property will go to your parents. If you are married, who will inherit will depend on whether the property is community property or separate property.
Intestacy laws already apply to you.
If you haven’t made a will or trust that allows you to pass on property after you die, California’s intestacy laws will apply. If you don’t want that to happen you will have to take the time to create an estate plan that ensures your wishes will be followed.
Selecting your beneficiaries is only one of the benefits of taking control of your planning future.
The best way to ensure that you get the benefits of good estate planning is to work with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney.