Palmer Rodak & Associates
Palmer Rodak & Associates
Certified Family Law Specialists State Bar of California Board of Legal SpecializationServing your Community for 19 Years
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Reviewing the rules for intestate succession in California

Despite recommendations from experts, many in Oceanside and throughout the rest of the U.S. still avoid estate planning. The common reason that most may share for doing this is the assumption that there will always be time later in their lives to address it. However, that prevailing attitude may be the reason why Gallup reports that only 44 percent of American adults actually have a will. Those who die without a will make their estates subject to intestate succession. In this scenario, the state decides how one’s assets will be divided up amongst his or her potential heirs.

According to the California Probate Code, if one has a surviving spouse, then the state’s rules for intestate succession mandate that he or she receives one-half of the couple’s community and quasi-community property that belonged to the decedent. In terms of separate property, he or she receives it all if the decedent has no surviving issue or parents, siblings, or other next of kin. That amount is reduced to one-half if the decedent does have a surviving child, parents, or siblings, or to one-third if the decedent left more than one surviving child as well as grandchildren.

In the event that one did not have a surviving spouse, then California’s intestate succession laws require his or her estate to be distributed as follows:

  •          To his or her children
  •          To his or her parents
  •          To his or her grandparents
  •          To the surviving issue of his or her predeceased spouse
  •          To his or her next of kin
  •          To the parents of his or her predeceased spouse

Having a will in place allows one to bequeath assets to parties outside of his or her family, such as friends, institutions or charitable organizations. 

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Palmer Rodak & Associates
Certified Family Law Specialists State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

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Del Mar, CA 92014

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