Intestate succession refers to the process of how the courts determine who receives what in a loved one’s estate when that individual passes away without a will. This determines both how an individual be appointed to administer the affairs of the estate and who is eligible to receive assets within the estate. However, not all assets pass through a will and therefore, will not pass through intestate succession, either.
If you pass away without a will, the California courts will step in to dictate what happens to your possessions, but only those possessions that are inside your probated estate. You might have multiple possessions or numerous assets not impacted by intestate succession determinations.
Some of the most common assets not impacted by the terms of a will include life insurance proceeds, securities held in a transfer on death account, funds in a payable on death bank account, property inside a living trust, funds in an IRA, bank accounts, real estate and other assets held in joint tenancy, and funds in a retirement plan or 401(k) for which a beneficiary was named.
You’ll need to review all of the documents for these different accounts to determine whether or not a beneficiary designation or co-ownership was listed.
This can help to answer many of the most common questions in the estate planning process. Since not all assets will pass through probate, probate can be more complex or simplified based on what kind of assets the deceased owned at the time they passed away.
Our Pasadena estate planning law firm can assist you with all aspects of creating your estate, business, or asset protection plan for your future. When you want to protect your loved ones and create a plan aligned with your individual goals, our lawyers are here to help.