What Happens When Someone Dies Without a Will?

A women reading a Will

Death is an inevitable part of life, but it is also one of the most unpredictable events. When someone dies without a will, it creates chaos, confusion, and emotional turmoil for everyone involved. The assets of the deceased person are left in a state of uncertainty, and the heirs may not know what to do next. In this blog post, we will discuss what happens when someone dies without a will, and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.

What Is Intestate Succession?

When someone dies without a will, their property is considered to be “intestate.” The state of California determines who inherits the property based on their relationship to the deceased. These relationships are determined by law and are outlined in the California Probate Code.

The rules vary from state to state, but generally, the deceased person’s spouse and children are given priority.

Who Inherits in California if There is Not Will?

In California, the intestate succession laws dictate that the deceased person’s assets will be distributed as follows:

  • If there is a spouse, but no children, the spouse inherits everything.
  • If there are children, but no spouse, the children inherit everything.
  • If there is a spouse and children, the assets are divided between them.
  • If there is no spouse or children, the deceased person’s parents or siblings may be entitled to a share of the assets.

It is important to note that the distribution of assets may not necessarily reflect the deceased person’s wishes or intentions. Therefore, it is always better to have a will in place to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

What Can Happen When Someone Dies Intestate?

When someone dies without a will, it can create a lot of problems. For example, if the deceased person has minor children, their custody may be contested. Similarly, if there are multiple heirs, there may be disputes over who gets what. Moreover, the probate process can become more complex and time-consuming, leading to higher costs and delays. Therefore, it is essential to have a comprehensive estate plan in place to avoid these issues.

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process of proving a deceased person’s will and distributing their assets to their beneficiaries. But what happens if someone passes away without a will? In cases of intestacy, the probate court will appoint an administrator to manage and distribute the deceased’s assets according to state law. This can be a time-consuming and costly process, as the court determines who is entitled to the assets and oversees the distribution.

Do All Intestates Go Through Probate?

Intestates do not always have to go through probate. If there is no real property and the total value of the estate is less than $184,500, the heirs can use a Small Estate Affidavit to claim the property. If the estate is worth more than that amount, a formal probate may be necessary to distribute the property.

How Are Assets Affected by Intestate Succession?

Intestate succession affects all assets that are subject to probate, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, and personal property. The distribution of these assets can differ based on who inherits them and what the specific laws dictate. It is important to understand the rules and regulations surrounding intestate succession in California to ensure that you are adequately prepared for any potential issues.

How Can I Get Started Drafting a Will?

An estate planning attorney can help you draft a will that is tailored to your specific preferences and situation. This can help to ensure that your assets and property are distributed according to your wishes and avoid any confusion or conflict among your loved ones.

Contact Desert Law Group for Help Drafting Your Will

Dying without a will can lead to an avoidable legal headache for your loved ones. Understanding the laws surrounding intestate succession in California is key to protecting your assets and ensuring that your wishes are carried out during probate proceedings. An estate planning attorney from Desert Law Group in Palm Springs can help guide you through the process of drafting a will and ensuring that your estate is protected according to your wishes. Don’t wait – call us today at 760-481-1144 to schedule a consultation and start getting the peace of mind that comes with having a solid estate plan in place.