As you begin to experience personal and professional prosperity in Westminster, your thoughts should turn to estate planning. The most common reason cited by those who come to see us here at The Law Firm of Lan Quoc Nguyen & Associates as to why they wait so long to begin such planning is that they do not want to consider the prospect of their own deaths. While that concern may be understandable, there is danger in waiting too long. If you keep putting this important process off, you could end up dying without a will.
What happens then? If you die without a will, you are said to be "intestate." The California Probate Code has established guidelines on how an intestate estate is to be dispersed. If you die intestate, your surviving spouse is automatically identified as your primary heir. He or she will receive half of your estate if you have any issue (direct descendants) or any living immediate family members (parents and siblings). That share reduces to one-third if you leave behind more than one child or more than one grandchild. If you have no surviving issue or relatives, your spouse would receive your entire estate.
If your spouse precedes you in death, then your assets will pass as follows (if you die intestate):
- To your children
- To your parents and/or siblings
- To your grandparents and/or their issue
- To your predeceased spouse's issue
- To your next of kin
This highlights the importance of writing a will while you still can. If you have accumulated significant assets (e.g., personal wealth, your own business), then you want to maintain control over who you entrust with them after you are gone. You can learn more about successfully transitioning your assets and wealth by continuing to explore our site.