Estate Planning in California

Estate planning, the process of deciding who will be included in your last will and testament, is an extremely important process. This is a process that everyone over the age of 18 that owns any property or assets should consider starting as soon as possible. By deciding what property and assets should be left to which person you will help avoid hardships and misunderstands in the event you fall victim to unexpected accident.

What Happens When No Will Is Found?

If you are unable or unwilling to start the process of estate planning then you are running the risk of putting your family in an uncomfortable position. The process of estate planning in California is not difficult to begin so courts do not waste time determining why a person has not left a will. Instead the state will decide how to dispose of your assets.

If you are an unmarried person with no children and no parents then perhaps you are not concerned. If you do have any family at all then you should realize that the state of California any property acquired during your marriage will automatically be left to your spouse if no will is found. This means that your parents, siblings, and children would only be able to inherit property that can be proved to be yours alone.

When separate property can be found it is then shared equally between spouse, children, or grandchildren. This means a spouse will inherit all community property (things you acquired during the marriage) and part of the separate property if no will is left. If you are not married but have children they equally share your assets and if you have no spouse or children but siblings, parents, or other relatives your property will be shared equally among them.

Leaving Assets Without A Will

If you have thought about the consequences of failing to start the estate planning process to create a will and want to get started there are things you can do to ensure your children or family inherit assets before your will is complete. Naming children or parents' beneficiary on certain retirement accounts or life insurance policies will help ensure that they are provided for even if a will is not created. Of course, creating a will is the best way to provide for your children, especially minor children.

Creating a Will to Protect Minor Children

Starting the estate planning process in California can eventually help ensure that your small children are cared for if you are unable to care for them. Trusts can be set up for minor children with a trustee appointed to look out for their financial interest until they come of age. A guardian can also be appointed to have physical custody of a child until they come of age and in many cases the trustee can also be the guardian. Regardless the guardian and/or trustee should be trustworthy and able to property care for minor children.

To learn more about the estate planning process, and whether you should take some steps now, consult with an estate planning attorney in your area.

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