Did you know that under certain circumstances, the state of California can get your property after your death? Nobody ever wants to think about death, but unfortunately, it is inevitable. So you might want to know under which circumstances your property and assets will pass to the state.
“In order to understand the circumstances in which the state of California can ‘inherit’ your property and assets, it is essential to know how California’s interstate succession laws work,” says our Los Angeles wrongful death attorney at The Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg.
Interstate succession will apply after your death if you die without a will in California. But which of your family members and relatives is entitled to your property and assets? And who gets what?
Are all of your assets affected by interstate succession in California?
First and foremost, not all of your assets will be affected by interstate succession laws after your death. Regardless of how you die – natural cause, wrongful death or murder – only assets that you own alone, in your own name, will be affected by interstate succession if you die without a will.
Our experienced wrongful death attorney in Los Angeles and Long Beach says that the following valuable assets are NOT affected by intestate succession laws in California:
- A Property you transferred to a living trust prior to your passing;
- Life insurance proceeds;
- Funds in a retirement account such as Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or any other;
- Securities held in a transfer-on-death account;
- Payable-on-death bank accounts;
- Vehicles owned by transfer-on-death registration; and
- Property owned with someone else in joint tenancy or as community property with right of survivorship.
After your death, the above-mentioned valuable assets will pass to the surviving co-owner or the beneficiary you named prior to your death. This happens regardless of whether you have a will or not.
How does California’s interstate succession work?
In order to understand “who gets what” in your family after your death, it depends on who your surviving family members are when you die. Under California’s interstate succession law:
- If you leave a spouse but no children, parents, or siblings, spouse inherits everything;
- If you leave children but no spouse, children inherit everything;
- If you leave parents but no spouse, children, or siblings, parents inherit everything;
- If you leave siblings but no spouse, children, or parents, siblings inherit everything;
- If you have a spouse AND children when you die, your spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 or 1/3 of your separate property, while the children get the remaining 1/2 or 2/3 of your separate property;
- If you have a spouse AND parents but no children, your spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 of your separate property, while the parents get the remaining 1/2 of your separate property;
- If you have a spouse AND siblings but no children and parents, your spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 of your separate property, while the siblings get the remaining 1/2 of your separate property.
Will the state of California get your property after your death?
But will the state of California get your property or other assets after your death? Our Los Angeles wrongful death attorney says that your property will be reverted into the state’s coffers if you die without a will and do not have any surviving family members.
However, the state inheriting someone’s property after their death is a very rare occurrence, because California law prioritizes on giving your property to anyone who is even remotely related to you. Therefore, the state of California will NOT inherit your property if you are survived by a spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, great uncles or aunts, nieces or nephews, cousins, or the children, parents, or siblings of a spouse who dies before you do.
If this sounds too confusing, schedule a free consultation with our lawyers at The Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg. Let us help you recover compensation if your loved one has died due to someone else’s negligence or fault. Call our offices at 310-997-0904 or complete this contact form.