All too often people put off thinking about or starting to draft a will or a trust with an attorney because they cannot bear thinking about their own mortality.
Writing a will can be one of the greatest gifts you give to your family and/or friends. By doing so, you choose who gets your assets and you can direct the ownership of those assets to the place where it will do the most good. A well-prepared will also help to alleviate stress and family strife.
What happens if you have assets that you want specific people to inherit when you die, but you die without first writing a valid will?
The decision of who inherits your property can either be made by you, or can be decided by the State of California.
In California your property will be distributed according to California’s intestacy laws. If you die leaving a husband or wife, a certain portion of your property will go to them since most probably it is community property and your spouse is entitled to at least half if not all of the community property upon your death.
In addition, your spouse is also entitled to an additional share of your separate property depending on:
- If you die without any living siblings or parents – receive all of your separate property
- If you die with at least one sibling and/or parent – receive half of your separate property
- If you die with more than one living child – receive one-third of your separate property
What about your children? The property that your children receive will depend on how much your spouse received. California law says that your children will receive everything that was not received by your spouse. However, if you die without a spouse, your children receive everything.
Dividing your assets and property after your death can be a complex process, but it doesn’t have to be. Planning for your family ahead of time can avoid these complicated rules and stressful times. You deserve the peace of mind and comfort that an enforceable estate plan can bring.
If you need legal assistance creating a valid will, we invite you to contact the family law offices of Holstrom, Block & Parke to discuss your legal options. The consultation is free, and confidential, speak to one of our attorneys today.
Located in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange Counties, our law firm focuses on matters relating to estate planning and probate administration.