Adults usually don’t think about an estate plan until they are older, but if you watch the news, you can see that younger adults die on a daily basis. This isn’t a pleasant thought, but it should serve as a call to action for the young adults who don’t have a will in place.
When you die without a will or estate plan, you die intestate. At this point, California laws come into the picture to tell the court how to distribute the assets. This means that you don’t have any control over who gets what. Instead, the courts handle the entire process according to a standard formula and plan that doesn’t take your wishes into account.
For a person who doesn’t have children and who still has parents living, all assets will go to the parents. If you don’t have children and your parents aren’t living, your siblings will get the estate. This happens with equal shares of your estate. A person without parents, children or siblings will have an estate that moves to more distant relatives.
If you do have a spouse, the estate would likely move to him or her. It could also move to your children, depending on the circumstances. If your estate goes to your children, it is divided equally between them. If you had a child who had a child and then your child died, that share would move down to your grandchildren from your deceased child.
Sometimes, people don’t have any living relatives. There is a chance that your estate could be absorbed by the state if you don’t have any heirs down the entire intestate line. If you don’t want this to happen, you can leave your estate to a favorite charity or to a trusted friend.
Source: FindLaw, “What Happens If You Die Without a Will?,” accessed Feb. 09, 2018