What Happens If I Pass Away in California Without an Estate Plan?


Every state has specific rules about what happens when someone passes away with no estate plan in place. This is because estate administration must still occur. If you or someone you know has recently passed away without an estate plan, you may need to understand the various stages through which their estate will be administered. This process is referred to as intestate succession, and the rules are rigid in terms of which relatives in your family are entitled to your assets. There’s a strong chance this plan doesn’t align with what you want, but it becomes the default if you fail to plan.

You can help avoid these challenges in your own situation by contacting an experienced Pasadena estate planning attorney to help you. If someone passes away in California, there are questions about how their assets will be divided and distributed among surviving family members. Standard wills are drafted by California for all individuals who fall into that category. There is only one formula for dividing assets in California, which means there is no opportunity to customize the plan based on the heir’s age, needs, health, and whether or not this person was close to the descendant.

This is because the state determines what happens to the assets based on the same formula that they apply to all families. Even if you had specifically promised something to someone else or hoped that they would receive it in the process of your estate being administered, this is not guaranteed and, in fact, when intestate planning steps in, the state of California will determine what is most appropriate for your assets. This could lead to many different challenges in your family. Working with an estate planning lawyer to at least create a basic simple will for your estate planning purposes can reduce challenges.

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