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What happens if you die without a will?

All adults in the California Vietnamese community should take the responsible step of making out a will. You may understandably be reluctant to think about what will happen after you die, but a will is the best way to assure that your intended heirs receive your estate according to your wishes. 

The possibility exists that you may pass on without having made out a valid will, assuming that you have not made one out already. According to FindLaw, if you die intestate, that is, not having made out a will, the state will make out a will for you according to the laws of the state you lived in. In other words, your property transfers according to how the average person would have distributed his or her assets in a process called intestate succession

In most cases, not all of your assets will transfer when you die. A portion of your assets will go towards settling accounts such as administrative expenses and any debts that you may have left behind. The "net estate" is what remains after the discharge of these expenses.

If you die intestate, transfer of your net estate typically occurs according to a very specific pattern; if there is no valid will, then there is no exception to the pattern of intestate succession, nor is any consideration given for special needs or extenuating circumstances. Most, if not all, of your net estate will go to your surviving spouse, if married. If you do not leave behind a surviving spouse but you do have descendents, the net estate will go to them. If you have no spouse and no descendants but one or both of your parents are still alive, your estate will pass either to the sole surviving parent or both parents equally. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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