There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding estate planning that sometimes pop up. For example, some people believe that the state of California will inherit your property if you don’t make a will or create some kind of estate plan. While this is possible, it is very rare. The process through which the state inherits someone’s property is called escheat. Let’s take a look at it and why it rarely happens.
You can choose who inherits your property.
In order to pass on your property all you have to do is make a will, create a trust, or take other specific actions which will allow you to choose your inheritors. As long as you do this in a legally recognized manner you get to select who inherits your property.
The state has already chosen for you.
If you don’t create an estate plan the state of California has laws which dictate who receives your property. These laws provide that your spouse, closest relatives, or more distant relatives will inherit your property if you don’t have an estate plan. However, who specifically inherits the property depends on a number of factors such as whether or not it is separate or community property. It is not wise to rely upon the government’s plan, especially for those that are in non-traditional relationships.
The state is last on the food chain.
While the state of California can inherit your property if you don’t have a plan and don’t have anyone else who survives you, the likelihood of this happening is rare. Even if you don’t have any surviving relatives all you have to do is create a simple estate plan and choose whoever you like to inherit property, including charities. For your peace of mind, it is a far better decision to create your own will or trust so you can decide which persons and/or organizations will be the recipients of the worldly possessions you leave behind.
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