Understanding the Treatment of Half Siblings in California Estate Planning

If you are a half-sibling and not a full sibling of someone and they intend to include you in their estate plan, it is important to understand how California interprets this ability to pass things on. If you have a half-sister or half-brother in poor health who is interested in giving you power of attorney to be able to make decisions for you, you should recognize that half-siblings are treated exactly like full siblings under the estates and trusts law.

Everything that a half-sister or half-brother currently holds in joint tenancy with you will automatically become yours in the event that the half-sibling passes away before you do. In this case, you would need to retitle the accounts under joint tenancy by proving a certificate of death.

You might need to deposit any refund checks that come in after this person’s death so you may wish to keep the deceased party’s name on the joint account for a few months. In the event that you are talking about other assets, such as retirement accounts or life insurance policies, this person needs to verify that they have named you as their pay on death beneficiary.

These are different forms outside of joint tenancy or other types of estate planning, such as trusts or wills, so you’ll need to verify that all of the records have been properly updated. For more information about how to include siblings or half-siblings in your estate plan and how to set up joint tenancy to your advantage, schedule a consultation with a trusted California estate planning lawyer.

When you take forward action steps with estate planning, you get to decide who will receive assets from your estate. If that includes half-siblings, discuss your options with your Pasadena lawyer to ensure you’ve considered the best way to transfer assets to those you care about.

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