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By: Scott Grossman on April 3rd, 2018

What could happen if I don’t leave any instructions regarding my California succession?

To make it short, the main problems your survivors could encounter are:

  • The succession most likely will not happen the way you intended, and the way your survivors would have liked.
  • The estate may have to go through probate, which takes time, costs money, and could have been avoided.
  • If you do not leave a will, who will receive assets is decided by the rules governing intestate succession. The heirs will get a share according to their order of priority.
  • Your surviving spouse or domestic partner may not inherit the entire estate.
  • The absence of adequate dispositions in a will or trust will not only prevent the right and efficient distribution of property to those you choose or who are in need, but may leave the survivors without the means to take care of children. It could also leave young heirs with more assets than they can handle at their age.

Two additional remarks need to be made. Even if a more detailed reply can be given in a free discussion of your case:

  • A dedicated and experienced probate lawyer can guide you through the process of preparing your succession. This should considerably lighten your burden.
  • If you prepare your succession well, you will protect your estate from creditors and tax authorities, and protect your family from infighting and disappointment.

Probate (noun):

The process of proving in court that the will of a person who has died is valid. It involves proving before a competent judicial authority that a document offered for official recognition and registration as the last will and testament of a deceased person is genuine. Not all wills must go through this in California.

Estate (noun):

An estate includes the things that a person owns. The things left by someone who has died can be distributed based on a Will, Trust, or Intestate laws. Estates have to be administered in the Probate Court if the estate meets certain criteria.