What dying without a will or trust in California means for you family
In the state of California, the estate of a resident dying without a will or trust ends up “intestate” which simply means that his or her property passes by “intestate succession” to the heirs according to the California laws of intestate succession. In other words, the state gets to decide who gets your assets and what you own.
There are different laws of intestate succession depending upon the marital status of the decedent. Once that question is resolved, determining the heirs to the decedent’s estate involves answering a series of questions about the decedent and his or her next of kin. In the case of a married decedent, questions arise concerning whether he or she owned community property, separate property, or a combination of the two.
The distribution of an intestate estate is very complicated and can be avoided by creating a will or living trust so that you are the one who is the sole determiner of who your property and assets go to upon your death. A living trust is created while you’re alive vs. one that is created at the time of your death under the terms of your will.
If you’re under 50 years of age, in good health,and don’t have enough assets to be subjected to estate taxes, a simple will should suffice. But, your family and/or beneficiaries will still have to go through the probate process which can be costly and take a long time to complete.
A basic living trust is an estate planning tool which allows you to direct how your assets are managed and spent during your life, if you become incapacitated, and after your death. One of the main advantages to creating a living trust is to protect your family from having to make crucial and difficult decisions about your estate. It can save your family the expense and inconvenience of probate after your death.
Grow with age
As you age, acquire more property and assets, and, perhaps, experience major changes such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child, it may be necessary to switch from a simple or “one-size-fits-all” will to a more complicated will. Another option is to create a living trust because it allows flexibility for major life changes, can help to reduce or eliminate probate, and save your family and beneficiaries on the administrative expenses involved in settling an estate.
If you are interested in drafting a will or creating a trust, the Law Office of David W. Foley specializes in estate planning, living trusts, and trust administration. Our experienced attorneys are well-versed in California law as it applies to wills, living trusts, and probate. We can help you provide for you beneficiaries by setting up your trust and helping you select the trustees to manage it.
If you’re looking for the best attorney for drafting a will or creating a living trust, contact the Law Office of David W. Foley today.