October 22nd, 2020 in
What Is Intestate Succession in CA? California intestate succession is a law that provides guidance on how inheritance should be considered after a person dies when that person did not leave behind a last will and testament. These inheritance laws can be complex, and when the estate is filled with a range of assets as well as debts or other liabilities, it becomes even more challenging.
Intestate succession laws cannot be challenged. However, if you have a claim against an estate of a person that has died, you have the right to provide that information to the court so that it can be considered. This process can be challenging in itself, which is why we encourage you to work with an attorney who can guide you through this legal process and provide you with the legal strategies necessary.
Intestate success provides an order in which people will receive the assets of the person that’s died, called the decedent. Generally, this includes spouses, children, siblings, and parents, in that order. Under these laws, all of the estate assets are considered. That includes anything that the person owed at the time of their death except for any property that is held within a trust. If there is a trust, the rules of that trust outline what occurs with the property. Also, property that is held in joint tenancy, which may include a bank or lender, for example, is not included in these laws. In addition, if the decedent had any type of assets that had named beneficiaries, intestate success does not apply. This includes, for example, life insurance or retirement accounts.
When there is no will in place, the court works to address the estate in what it considers the fairest method possible. That often means taking into consideration CA intestate succession laws based on who the party is in relation to the decedent.
Who Inherits What If There Is No Will?
When someone dies, the court is tasked with determining who should inherit the estate, which includes most assets that are left behind after any debts are paid. Under CA intestate succession laws, the following order is used:
The goal is to determine who is the next of kin for that person. While this seems like a simple process, it often is more complicated. For example, if a person dies with a spouse but also has children, that can complicate matters, especially if that spouse is not the mother of the children. There are many other situations that can occur, such as a child becoming recognized by the court. Other times, there may not be immediate family, which often means that there are concerns related to which aunts or cousins should inherit those assets. Other situations can complicate the process as well, such as children that are placed for adoption, foster children, stepchildren, adopted children, children that are born outside of marriage, grandchildren, and posthumous children.
In situations where there is more than one person that could inherit, such as two children instead of one, the court will split that equally among the number of children or other people, based on the next of kin. The court follows a specific set of rules, and these rules cannot be challenged. For example, if the person dies with a child that they have not talked to in 20 years, that person may still be entitled to the estate even if there are others who are in that individual’s life.
If you are unsure of what may happen in your situation, allow an attorney to guide you. Because this can be an area of the law that requires careful proof, especially if it is in one of the more complicated areas of the law, you want to be sure you have all of the legal matters worked out in advance.
How Steburg Law Firm Can Help
Our team can help to answer all of your questions about CA intestate succession. If you believe you should have the right to any assets, it is important that you work quickly to make your claim. Allow our legal team to provide you with a consultation to discuss your case first. We will then work carefully with you to ensure you know your rights and have expectations on what is likely to occur.
To get started, set up a consultation with Steburg Law Firm now. We’re happy to discuss your needs with you quickly and accurately.