One who passes without a will in California is considered to have died “intestate.” In such circumstances, the state’s Probate Court appoints an administrator to settle the estate’s affairs upon filing a Petition for Administration. After the affairs are settled, the remaining assets are divided according to one’s “closest relatives” as defined by state law. It is crucial that one retain an attorney to assist with this process as there may be disputes over who will serve as the administrator as well as whether or not property should be included in the estate. Contact our office today to speak with a San Bernardino lawyer.
San Bernardino, California attorney handling intestate estates
It is more common than one may think to die without a will in San Bernardino County or elsewhere in California. When one dies without a will, property passes pursuant to the state’s intestate succession laws. Below are a few examples of how these laws apply:
- If one dies with a spouse and no children then the spouse inherits all community property, and all separate property, if there are no living parents, siblings or nieces and nephews of the deceased
- If one dies with a spouse and children then the spouse inherits all community property and either ½ or ⅓ of separate property. The remainder of the separate property will go to the children
- If one dies with a spouse, no children, and surviving parents then the spouse receives all community property, ½ of separate property, and the remainder will go to the deceased’s parents
Several disputes can arise in an intestate probate. First, there may be disputes as to whether stepchildren, or children born outside the marriage, are entitled to inherit property. Second, there may be disputes over whether property is part of a “marital community” and how it should be divided. Such matters lead to heirship disputes or disputes over property in a probate. Hiring an attorney who can assist with this process is critical to ensuring that such disputes are resolved as quickly as possible.
Aruna Rodrigo is a San Bernardino probate lawyer handling intestate succession cases throughout the Inland Empire. Once retained, we immediately analyze issues related to whether property should be included in the estate as well as any claims by potential heirs. Evidence we collect, in relation to such claims, include financial records, property records, as well as correspondence between the children and the deceased. We understand that this is a trying time in your life, that you have suffered a loss, and that you wish to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. We are here to help. Call today to speak with an attorney. We also service Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Ontario, Victorville, Rialto, Hesperia, Chino, Upland, Apple Valley, Redlands, Highland, Colton, Yucaipa, Montclair, as well as Los Angeles.
San Bernardino County probate lawyer helping California residents understand how property is impacted by dying without a will
It is important to understand that not all property is impacted by one dying without a will. In California many types of property pass outside of a probate. The first example is property held in a living trust. Such property may need to be resolved through a trust administration. Other examples of property that pass outside of probate include life insurance proceeds, retirements accounts, certain joint accounts, etc. In other words, probate may not even include property depending on the nature of the deceased’s assets. Our lawyer helps people throughout the County in understanding what the necessary steps of the case will be. Call our attorney today.