The Risks of Passing Away Without a Will or Trust in California

Passing away without a will and trust has several potential outcomes, often varying by state. These laws can get awfully complex – especially in California. Ensure that your assets are distributed according to your own judgment rather than a default state-defined distribution by drafting a will and trust with a professional estate planning attorney.


Dying “Intestate”: Passing Away Without a Will or Trust

There’s a specific term which refers to passing away without a will: “intestate.” In cases of intestate, varying state laws will determine how any property is transferred upon death. The term “property” doesn’t just concern real estate either – any bank accounts, securities, and other financial assets that you own at the time of death are set for distribution. Since intestate works by state laws, any real estate you own in a separate area will abide by that state’s specific laws on the matter. 


Intestate Succession in California

For families in California, asset distribution depends on who your closest relatives were upon death. For example, if you pass away without a will or trust, with surviving children but no spouse, your children will inherit everything. If you have no children or extended family, your spouse gets it all. If your siblings are alive upon your death, and you do not have children, a spouse, or living parents, then your brothers and/ or sisters will receive your all of your assets.


Where Passing Away Without a Will or Trust Gets Complicated

The distribution of assets upon one’s death in California gets more complex with an increasing number of surviving relatives. If a spouse and child, or grandchild remain alive after you pass, the spouse will inherit your community property as well as half of your separate property. However if a spouse and two or more children remain alive after death, the surviving spouse inherits all community property and a third of the separate property – additionally, the children inherit two-thirds of the separate property. As the combinations continue, the divisions in property only get more complex, often resulting in an undesirable asset distribution. However, this confusion can be proactively avoided. Rather than leaving the distribution of your assets up to state laws, consider seeking out a vetted trust and probate attorney to maintain control over your assets after death. 


Contact Gokal Law

Our team specializes in litigation and counseling related to trust and probate law and will diligently represent you in the courts. In short, we will give you the support you need to win your case. The sooner you contact us, the more effective we are at getting you the justice you deserve.


Gokal Law Group is a family firm that treats our clients as if they were our own flesh and blood. We fight for our clients as we would our own children, sisters, brothers, and parents. We are our clients’ Warriors, fighting to bring them justice and right the wrongs they have endured.


Each attorney has a specific practice area for which they are tried, tested, and battle-ready. Each has vast years of experience in their practice area, providing them the knowledge, skills, and vision to fight and win. Learn more about Gokal Law Group.

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