What happens if you die without a will?

On Behalf of | Sep 10, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Even though we don’t like to think about it, death is an inevitable part of life. Therefore, it’s imperative to have plans in place for when you die, such as creating a will.

How does dying without a will negatively impact your loved ones?

The complications of dying intestate

Dying without a will is known as dying intestate. California’s intestacy laws will determine how your estate is distributed. Your portion of the community property will go to your spouse, along with a portion of your assets acquired before marriage.

If you have no spouse, your children will inherit. If one of your children passed away before you, their portion would be divided by their children (your grandchildren).

If you die with no spouse or descendants, your estate will go to your parents, then siblings, then nieces and nephews, and so on. It’s also important to note that if you have any half-siblings, they will receive the same inheritance as full siblings.

Without clear instructions, no one will know your final wishes, such as special provisions regarding family heirlooms, personal items or a family business. They also won’t know if you want to leave money to specific organizations.

Furthermore, without a will, your estate will likely go through probate, and the court will name an executor. This complicates things for everyone involved and increases the likelihood of disputes. In that event, your estate ends up in litigation and expensive court costs.

Creating a will should be part of an overall estate plan. While it may seem overwhelming, once it’s complete, you and your family will have peace of mind knowing that you have stated your final wishes and named beneficiaries.