If you die without a will or a trust, any assets held inside of your estate will likely be split between your spouse and children. In the event that you don’t have a spouse or child, other family members might be in line to inherit possessions such as your California home. Let’s take a closer look at some of the other implications of dying intestate.
Who will represent your estate?
When you die without a valid will, a legal battle may ensue to determine who will be the executor of your estate. In addition to delaying the start of a probate proceeding, it could exacerbate tensions between family members. Ultimately, your surviving family members may spend their inheritance attempting to litigate personal disputes instead of settling your affairs in a timely manner.
A guardian may need to be appointed to care for your children
In a will, you can name a guardian for your minor children. It may also be possible to appoint someone to serve as a caregiver for a grown son or daughter who has special needs. However, a judge will likely appoint someone to care for a dependent absent a valid last will and testament.
What if you have a trust?
Assuming that a trust is properly executed, there may be no need to create a will. Instead, it will determine how assets are distributed after your death. It may also determine who will care for your children or oversee their inheritance until they are old enough to manage it on themselves. An estate planning attorney may be able to help you draft a trust document and help to ensure that assets are titled in its name.