What does Probate mean? When a person dies, the decedent’s property passes to their heirs or to beneficiaries of a will. Creditors will also collect on any outstanding debts. If no will exists, the decedent’s estate is still distributed but will go to heirs under California probate laws. The personal representative will be based on a priority list under California law. There are certain types of assets that do not go through probate. These include life insurance policies with a designated beneficiary and bank accounts with a payable-on-death beneficiary. Additional exemptions include real estate held jointly with the right of survivorship, retirement accounts with a named beneficiary and assets held in trust.
Absent an estate plan, most families feel extremely dissatisfied when they discover the manner in which the state of California disposes of assets. For instance, if you die with no will or other estate plans (intestate) with…
- children, but no spouse, your children will inherit everything, divided equally.
- parents, but no children, spouse or siblings, your parents would inherit your entire estate, divided equally.
- siblings, but no children, spouse or parents, your siblings would inherit your entire estate, divided equally.
- a spouse and one child, your spouse will inherit all community property as well as half of your separate property. Then, your child or grandchild will inherit the other half of your separate property.
- a spouse and two or more children, your spouse will inherit all community property, and one-third of your separate property. Your children will equally divide the other two-thirds of your separate property.
Mark Gullotta serves the San Mateo County area, such as San Bruno, Millbrae, Burlingame, South San Francisco, Daly City Colma, and the City of San Mateo. He also offers 15-minute assessments. Contact Mark Gullotta today for all your estate planning needs.