California Intestate Laws: Here’s What Happens If You Don’t Have a Will

California intestate laws can affect your family if you die without a will.

Many Californians don’t create a will. A Last Will and Testament (commonly just referred to as a “will”) is used to direct the distribution of your assets. It also plays another important role. If you die and leave behind minor children, your will appoints someone to care for the children until they are adults. Additionally, any assets that you want your minor children to have can be placed into a trust until the children reach the age specified in your will. Additionally, a will may also be used to give your business interests over to another person.

Considering your last days is never really an easy subject. The fact is that we don’t know how long we have on this earth. People who have substantial assets should talk with an estate planning attorney to determine the best to protect their assets and ensure that they are distributed how they want. Of course, an entire estate plan does many things. However, our purpose today is to talk about California intestate laws. People who do not have many assets usually do not think they need a will. That’s because the most common misconception is that a will is to explain to whom your assets should be given upon your death. As you learned from the first paragraph, that’s not the only important thing that a will does.

What Happens When You Die Without a Will?

If you die without a will, it is referred to as dying intestate. This means that since you didn’t leave instructions in the form of a California will, the court will apply the state’s intestate laws.

What Are California Intestate Laws For?

California intestate laws have a specific purpose. They create specific rules as to what will happen to your possessions, money, your pets, and your minor children when you die. This means that someone may raise your children even if you never wanted your children to have contact with that person. It means that certain items you own, even if they just have sentimental or family value, may be sold or given to someone who may not appreciate it as much as someone else who you know.

California intestate laws do exist for a good purpose. Overall, they’re designed to outline the order in which heirs will be named. Yet, from experience, we know that not everyone wants to leave their belongings to people to whom they are directly related. Single parents of minor children may have some specific in mind to care for their children. Telling someone simply isn’t enough. You must have a will that conforms with California law.

Problems with Probate

If your estate ends up falling under the intestate laws, your family could spend significant money and time in the probate court. They could also be subjected to intense stress. Think about your family members and even your friends to whom you are close. You already know how greatly they will fill the loss. Probate can make it even more difficult. Fighting, contesting decisions, community property, separate property, objections, and the work and expense that often comes with managing an estate and reporting back to the court can make the probate process last far longer than it needs to last.

ProbateSimple: Working to Make the Probate Process Faster and Easier for Families in California

As a law firm handling estates, we know first-hand how lengthy and expensive the probate process can be. That’s why we created ProbateSimple. You answer a few questions and we’ll you know whether we can help you get your share of an estate faster and cheaper than the traditional California probate process. If you’re interested in knowing if you’re eligible, click the chat button on the lower right of your screen to get started.

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