In California, there are inheritance laws that determine how the estate of a deceased individual can be divided and inherited. The core of inheritance laws comes down to wills. There is a drastic difference between the legal ramifications of dying with or without a will. While this article provides a simple overview, it is important to consult with an experienced estate attorney in order to formulate the best estate plan.
While California does not impose an inheritance tax, there are other applicable federal estate taxes, which are paid several months or a year after the death of the individual. Inheritance laws are important to understand and can help shape the will a person writes. If you die without a will, it is less likely for your estate to be divided according to your wishes. A will allows you to choose who gets your estate’s property/assets, the executor, and guardians for children who are minors.
Without a will, the state of California determines how your estate is distributed among your next of kin. People who you may not have wished to receive your assets could do so in this scenario; on the other hand, some could be denied from inheriting anything from your estate as well. The state’s succession laws distribute the estate to your spouse, parents, children, and other family members. If you have had a long-time partner, but never married this individual and do not have a will, the government will not allow them to inherit a portion of your estate. Therefore, a will ensures your wishes will be met. For the surviving married spouse, if there is no will the spouse can inherit both the community and separate property of the deceased spouse.
Speak with an experienced attorney at Law Advocates Group to explore your estate planning options. A well-detailed plan is beneficial for not just you, but also your loved ones.