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When a loved one dies without making a will in California

On Behalf of | Nov 12, 2018 | Probate |

If you have recently lost a loved one, it is likely that you are going through a stressful time. It can be difficult to manage the grieving process at the same time as the logistical aspects, such as arranging the funeral and starting the probate process. This is especially true if your loved one did not leave a will. It is important to utilize the support offered by family and friends during this time.

When a person did not leave a will at the end of their life, this is known in legal terms as intestacy. While the process can be more complex than when a person has left a will, there are still clear and precise laws in place to help govern the process.

Who will be the heirs of an estate when there is no will?

In the state of California, there are specific laws that address who will be set to inherit the estate of a person without a will. If the deceased person was married or in a domestic partnership at the time of his or her death, their estate will be transferred to their partner.

If this is not the case, the estate will be divided equally among the decedent’s children. If the decedent has no children, the estate will be distributed between their parents, siblings or grandparents, in this order.

What assets will be distributed among these relatives?

The assets that will be divided among the appropriate relatives are part of the intestate succession when there is no will present. However, there are certain assets that do not qualify to pass through intestate succession, and therefore, the relatives in question will not be set to inherit them. Assets that are not eligible include payable on death bank accounts, retirement accounts, property that is held in a living trust, life insurance plans and jointly held property.

If you are dealing with the processing of an estate when a will was not left, it is important that you take the time to understand the laws in California. There is a specific process when it comes to probate that must be adhered to in a particular order.