Have you ever thought about where your assets will go after you die? What if you die without a will or trust?
Dying without a will—known as dying "intestate"—means you have no say over who receives your assets. Instead, your heirs and the court system will be left with the costly and complex job of disputing over who gets what. Your assets go into "probate," which is an expensive and drawn out legal process which determines who inherits your estate, and can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on how complicated the estate is.
In California, if you are not married or in a registered domestic partnership, your assets will be distributed to: (1) your children or grandchildren (if you have any) or (2) your parents, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, or other relatives. If your spouse or domestic partner dies before you, his or her relatives may also be entitled to some or all of your estate. Friends, a non-registered domestic partner, your favorite charities, and your pets will receive nothing if you die without a will. If you (and your deceased spouse or domestic partner) have no living relatives, the State of California will receive all of your assets if you die intestate.
If you want to keep your assets from going to the state and save your relatives from going through the expensive probate process, contact us here at
Atlantis Law to speak to an experienced estate planning attorney who will make sure your assets get into the right hands.