• California Intestate Succession

California Intestate Succession

Under California intestate succession laws, if you die without a will, your assets will go to your closest surviving relatives. Assets held in trust will be distributed to the designated beneficiaries upon death. Any asset held outside of a trust will go to the decedent’s closest surviving relatives per California intestate succession laws. If your loved one has died without a will, contact A People’s Choice for information on how we can help you probate his/her estate.Read on to learn more about California intestate succession laws and how we can help you.

Assets Not Affected By California Intestate Succession Laws

California intestate succession laws specify that only certain types of assets will pass to surviving relatives. Such assets consist of the decedent’s separate real and personal property. The following types of assets will not pass to beneficiaries through intestate succession:

  • Property held in trust
  • Life insurance proceeds
  • Retirement account
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts
  • Vehicles held by transfer-on-death registration
  • Real property held as joint tenancy or tenants in common


California Intestate Succession Laws – Who Gets What?

The percentage of an estate a surviving relative will inherit will depend on the type of legal relationship he/she holds with the decedent. For example, a surviving spouse will receive the decedent’s share of any community property of the marriage, as well as part of the decedent’s separate property. If the decedent had a spouse and no children, the surviving spouse will inherit all the decedent’s community property and ½ of decedent’s separate property. If the decedent is survived by a spouse and children, each will receive a pro rata share of the decedent’s assets. If the decedent is not survived by a spouse, but has children, the children will receive all the assets. If the decedent is survived by siblings only, the siblings will receive a pro rata share of the estate.

Your Family and RelativesWho Gets Your Estate
You are not married but have children.Your children inherit everything equally. If any child has predeceased, their share shall be distributed “by right of representation” to their heirs.
You are not married, have no children and have no brothers or sistersYour parents will inherit everything. If your parents have predeceased you, to your grandparents.
You are not married, have no children, your parents have predeceased you but you do have living brothers and sistersYour brothers and sisters will inherit everything
 You are married (have a spouse) but you have no children, your parents have predeceased you, and you have no brothers or sisters (or they are deceased) Your spouse will inherit everything.
You are married (have a spouse) and you have childrenCommunity Property:
Your spouse will inherit all of your community property.Separate Property:
– If you have 1 child, your spouse will inherit 1/2 and your child will inherit 1/2 of your separate property
– If you have more than 1 child, your spouse will inherit 1/3 and your children will equally share in 2/3 of your separate property. If any children have predeceased you, their share will be distributed by right of representation to their heirs.
You are married (have a spouse), you have no children, and your parents are living.Your spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 of your separate property
Your parents inherit 1/2 of your separate property
You are married (have a spouse), you have no children, your parents are deceased, but you have living brothers and sisters.Your spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 of your separate property
Your brothers and sisters inherit 1/2 of your separate property

 

Understanding California intestate succession laws can be difficult. If you are faced with having to probate an estate that will have to be distributed according to California intestate succession laws, contact A People’s Choice. You may be surprised to learn you don’t need to hire an attorney! A People’s Choice can show you how you can probate your loved one’s estate and how we can help you save money in the process.

Get help with your California probate documents today!

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By | 2018-01-18T15:47:05+00:00 February 24th, 2016|Estate Planning, Probate|0 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.

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