- If you die married but without children, your spouse inherits everything.
- If you die with no children or spouse, your parents have the first right to claim your property through intestate succession, followed by siblings.
- If you leave behind a spouse and one child or grandchild, your spouse will inherit all of your community property and half of your separate property, with the other half going to the child or grandchild.
These are just a few of the basic laws of intestate succession in California. Ultimately, any given death can result in very complex questions for the deceased’s surviving loved ones. It is best to do everything you can to eliminate the need for probate proceedings by crafting a detailed and comprehensive estate plan on which your family can rely after your death.
Probate can also lead to further legal proceedings if a dispute arises over the distribution of estate assets. For example, if any party with a valid claim on the deceased’s estate contests an element of the probate process, it could change things. This could escalate into very challenging legal proceedings that place family members at odds with one another. Ultimately, it is best to invest the time in creating an estate plan your family can rely upon after your death.
The sooner you begin working on your estate plan, the sooner you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having a solid end-of-life plan in place for your loved ones. It is natural to feel uncomfortable thinking about your own death and how your loved ones will carry on without you, but the right attorney can put this challenge into perspective for you and help you recognize the advantages of having a robust estate plan in place.
Do not trust free online tools and consumer-grade software to create the comprehensive estate plan you need to feel comfortable about the future. Contact the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker today to schedule a consultation with an experienced and reliable Orange County estate planning attorney. Our team will help you understand the benefits of estate planning and help you draft an estate plan that works for you and your family.