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No Will (Intestacy)

Areas of Practice:

Power of Attorney
Elder Law
Asset Protection
Estate Planning in San Jose
Health Care Directive

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JDSUPRA - Your Legal Intelligence

Member of the State Bar of California

Santa Clara County Bar Association

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No Will - INTESTACY (the worst of all worlds….if you die without a will, trusts, etc., or just don’t give a darn where your property goes or how much pain you cause to the survivors, then this is or you!) Again, this is possibly the worst of all worlds. Some estimates show that over 50% of all the people in this country die without any paperwork directing disposition of their assets, and without thinking about the conflicts and pain they are likely to cause. It gets even worse. If you have no spouse or relatives, while an unlikely scenario, the State gets all of your belongings! Let’s suppose you do have some next of kin. Depending on the circumstances, the cost of settling an intestate situation may consume about 50% of all the assets. And where does all this money go? Court appointed administrator (someone you probably know nothing about), lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, appraisers, court fees, etc., not to the rightful beneficiaries. And where does the money come from? The family home and other items may need to be sold to satisfy all the professions mentioned. A real shame, since this is all totally avoidable.

Married. Your spouse will receive your share of the community property. If you owned separate property (the property you acquired before the marriage; inheritance or gift regardless when acquired) it’ll be divided between the spouse and the children. If there are no children, the spouse will receive ½ of your separate property and the other ½ will typically go to your parents or siblings.

Not married. If you have children, they get it all at 18 years of age, regardless of whether they have prudent spending habits or not. If no children, the parents get it all. If no parents, siblings, etc. get it.