LA Probate Law: Will is needed Why?
A will allows you, instead of state law, to decide who will receive your assets after you die. If you don’t have a will, your estate will be distributed as required by the California Probate Code. If there is no estate plan, usually your nearest relatives will inherit the estate. Perhaps you would have wanted it this way, but if you wanted to make a gift to other relatives, to someone outside of the family, or to a charity, it won’t happen unless you had an estate plan. A Will is a legal document meant to carry out your wishes – or will – after your death say LA Probate Law. A Will commonly disposes of your assets, such as real estate, money and property, and may even designate guardianship for children. Your Will is probably your single most important legal document; taking the time to consult with a professional and to draft a valid Will is critical to ensuring your wishes are followed at your death and that your family or loved ones are not left dealing with a lengthy, expensive legal process.
Does a Will Cover Everything I Own?
No. Generally speaking, your will affects only those assets that are titled in your name at your death. Those assets that are not affected by your will include Life insurance. The cash proceeds from an insurance policy on your life are paid to whomever you have designated as beneficiary of the policy in a form filed with the insurance company—no matter who the beneficiaries under your will may be. Retirement plans. Assets owned as a joint tenant with right of survivorship. “Transfer on death” or “pay on death.” Certain securities and brokerage accounts include a designation of one or more beneficiaries to receive the assets in that account when the account owner dies explains LA Probate Law. The names of the beneficiaries are preceded by the words “transfer on death” or “TOD.” Other assets, such as bank accounts and U.S. savings bonds, may be held in a similar form using the owner’s name and the beneficiaries’ names preceded by the words “paid on death” or “POD.” “Community property with right of survivorship.” Married couples or registered domestic partners may hold title to their community property assets in their names as “community property with right of survivorship.” Then, when the first spouse or domestic partner dies, the assets pass directly to the surviving spouse or partner without being affected by the will. Even if your entire estate consists of assets held in joint tenancy, a life insurance policy and a retirement plan, there are still good reasons for making a will.
California Wills & Probate Court
Under California law, a Will is administered through probate court. Those wishing to bypass the probate process should consider a Living Trust or other legal form of transferring your assets without probate jurisdiction. Typically, the executor named in your will starts the probate process after your death by filing a petition in court. An executor is appointment by the court, takes charge of the assets, pays debts and, with court approval, distributes the estate to beneficiaries in accordance with your Will. In many instances, hiring an estate planning attorney to assist with probate court matters can be a good idea. There are many advantages and disadvantages to probate court and an experienced attorney may best assist you in ensuring proper administration of an estate say LA Probate Law. Probate court is accustomed to resolving disputes and oversees an executor’s actions, which can also help protect an estate. However, the probate court process is public, so your estate, assets and values will become public record and will be accessible by anyone who wishes to review court documents. In some cases, a probated estate may cost more in court and attorney fees, and may take longer; that estates plan that distributes your assets through a living trust.
Dying Without a Will or Trust
If a California resident dies without a will or trust, they die “intestate” and the laws of intestate succession are used to determine who will inherit the estate. Determining the heirs of the estate involves answering a series of questions about the person who died. The following discussion applies only to California residents and the intestate succession law of other states may be different. If you don’t leave behind any instructions for how you want your property divided (such as with a valid will or living trust), then California law steps in so that the probate court can distribute your property to your heirs. A person who dies without a valid will is said to have died “intestate.” In these situations, California’s intestacy laws apply. These laws decide which family members will inherit by creating a hierarchy. Your surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive your full share of “community property” (your shared marital property as determined by California’s community property laws). You might also have your own “separate property” (usually this is property you owned before marriage or inherited while married). Assuming that your separate property never turned into community property, then your spouse or domestic partner will get a share of those assets Those relatives (usually children) would receive the rest. If you had children (or a grandchild from a child who died), then they’ll inherit your estate says LA Probate Law. If you didn’t have any children, then the hierarchy goes from parents, to siblings, to grandparents, to aunts and uncles, to cousins, and then more distant family members. Keep in mind that once there’s someone eligible to inherit, the probate court won’t give property to anyone who’s further down on the hierarchy.