What Happens When Someone Dies Without A Will?

If a California resident dies without a will, it is known as "dying intestate." The decedent's assets will be distributed to his or her closest relatives under California laws of intestate succession.

Keep in mind, many assets do not have to go through the probate process, whether or not there is a will. These include bank accounts, retirement savings, real estate and other assets that are jointly owned or for which you have designated a direct beneficiary.

Dying without a will can complicate the distribution of one's assets. It complicates a lot more than that if any survivors are minors and there is no surviving parent. Having a comprehensive estate plan in place provides peace of mind for everyone.

California laws of intestate succession dictate which family members receive what depending upon the decedent's survivors. For example:

  • If there is a surviving spouse and one surviving child or grandchild, the spouse inherits all community property (which is property acquired during marriage) and half of the separate property.
  • If there is a surviving spouse and two or more children, the spouse inherits all the community property and one-third of the separate property. Children inherit two-thirds of the separate property.
  • If there are surviving children, but no spouse, the children inherit everything.

The lawyers at Simon Law protect the rights of parties in estate administration. Our experience provides us thorough knowledge of California probate laws.

Laws Address All Combinations Of Survivors

The state's intent when someone dies without a will is to distribute assets to family members as equitably as possible. Intestacy laws cover the full range of possibilities for a surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings or parents. However, these situations can become complex and contentious.

Our lawyers will help make sense of a complicated matter at a time when you are grieving the loss of a loved one. Call 415-523-7847 to schedule a free consultation or provide us more information by using our online contact form.

Our Walnut Creek attorneys are ready to protect your rights regarding estate administration when there is no will.