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Who receives an inheritance without a will?

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2017 | Wills

It seems as if every family has at least one of those relatives with whom no one wants to associate. For the most part, the majority of California residents are free to maintain relationships with only those friends and relatives they like. However, in some cases, it is possible that these same relatives with whom the individual does not wish to associate could be the very ones who will receive an inheritance upon the individual’s death due to that individual’s lack of estate planning.

Current research indicates that over fifty percent of Americans have not drafted a will. For those who are married with children, inheritance precedents are pretty standard. Typically, the spouse and children will inherit the individual’s assets. However, for those who are unmarried or who do not have children, things are not always so clear-cut.

For example, an unmarried individual without children may want assets to go to a special friend. However, if this desire is never formally declared as part of a will, there is not guarantee that this will happen. Many times, the courts will decide that assets should go to the next of kin. Additionally, it is possible that relatives may dispute the California court’s decision, and any inheritance may be tied up in the probate process.

The majority of individuals do have an idea of whom they would like to bequeath an inheritance. Yet, it appears that many do not take the necessary steps to make this happen. The first step is to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney and begin the process of drafting a will.

Source:, “Estate Planning Is Important for People Without Children“, Debbie Carlson, Feb. 16, 2017


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