If you die but don’t have a surviving spouse, parent, or child, the probate court will allocate your assets to nieces or nephews. If you have neither, a judge will look at other, more distant members of your family. In very rare cases, when the court can identify no surviving relatives, California may take all your assets for itself.

Remember that if you have any outstanding debts, your creditors can stake claims on your estate, too. So even if you have a great deal of faith in California’s probate court, there’s still a chance your heirs could get nothing.

Your Loved Ones Can’t Afford for You to Die Intestate

There are steps you can take to protect your accounts, properties, and investments. A will, for instance, is a basic estate document everyone should have. You can also consider establishing a private or charitable trust, which can shield your loved ones from the state’s scrutiny while providing strong tax incentives.

Wills, Trusts, and Attorneys Help Secure Your Legacy

Estate planning doesn’t have to be difficult. We can help you create a will and other documents that allow you to allocate your legacy the way you want. If you need help getting started, send us a message, or give us a call today.


Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.