When people ask questions about estate planning, they sometimes harbor misunderstandings with regard to control.
To a very large extent, you have control over the way that your resources will be distributed after your passing. The only way that you lose control is if you do nothing.
Lack of Planning
If you die without executing any estate planning documents at all, the condition of intestacy will be the result. This would be the case regardless of your marital status.
Under these circumstances, certain types of asset transfers would take place organically. Insurance policy proceeds and any assets that you may have in a payable on death account would be transferred to the named beneficiaries.
Property that was in your direct an sole personal possession would become probate property. In general, in California, if your probate estate is in excess of $150,ooo, the probate court would supervise the administration of the estate, and the resources would ultimately be passed along to your closest relatives using the intestate succession laws of the state of California.
If you were single when you died and you had surviving children, your children would inherit equal shares of your probate property. If you had no surviving children but you had a parent or parents still alive, the parent or parents would inherit the property.
Your siblings would inherit your property if you were single and you passed away with no living parents or descendants.
There are intestate succession laws to account for other familial situations that may exist after the passing of a single person.
Sometimes a person with no living relatives will pass away without any estate planning documents at all. Under these circumstances, the state could eventually assume ownership of the probate property under escheat laws.
Your True Wishes
As you can see, if you pass away while you are single without an estate plan, your assets are going to be distributed according to the intestate succession laws of the state. The outcome may not be consistent with your true wishes.
Many people who are single have close friends, and there are those who are in committed, but non-marital romantic relationships. You may want your assets to be distributed to people who are close to you who are not blood relatives.
Even if you want the assets to remain in the family, the intestate succession laws may not facilitate the desired outcome.
There is no reason to go through life without an estate plan. If you do not know how to begin, this is understandable, but our firm can help you put a personalized plan in place.
We would be glad to answer all of your questions and gain an understanding of your objectives. To set up an appointment, send us a message through our contact page: Sacramento CA Estate Planning Attorneys.
To learn more, please download our free California Intestacy here.
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