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What will happen if I die without a will in California?

Unfortunately, many California residents still do not believe they need a will. Sometimes this is because they do not have much in the way of possessions and other times it may be because they think their family members can work it all out. However, the distribution of any property or assets without a will may depend on factors outside of your family's control.

Passing away without a will is called intestacy and it can cause your loved ones additional grief in many situations. What it means is that the law in California may be the sole deciding factor in how your beneficiaries are determined. Dying without a will does not necessarily guarantee your spouse, children or grandchildren are provided for as you may wish.

In most cases dying intestate means a court will distribute the majority of any property you own to your spouse if one exists. The remainder will be distributed to any other close relatives you may have. This also means that the antique engagement ring your grandmother gave you will go to your spouse instead of your daughter as you might have wished.

The above is simply an example of how the state's distribution of your assets may proceed without a will. However, you can fix any oversights that might occur in an easy way. All you need is a will and it does not have to be a complicated process. Creating a last will and testament is much easier than many California residents think and empowers you to remain in control of your property even after you die.

Your first step in achieving this peace of mind and avoiding inheritance issues for your survivors is contacting a California-based attorney and setting the wheels in motion.

Source: The State Bar of California, "What happens if I don’t have a will?," accessed Feb. 18, 2016

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