From Creditors, Predators & Bad Choices, And Will Help You Become a (Bigger) Hero to Your Family!

Five-Star Attorney 600
Sunrise over cozy suburban house with trees

Dying Without a Will in California: Navigating Intestate Succession and Probate

The Importance of Estate Planning in California

Though many people understand the importance of estate planning, approximately 68% of Americans do not have a will. In California, this shortfall can lead to complex legal proceedings as the deceased’s estate is distributed according to the state’s intestate succession laws. When someone passes away without a will or trust, the probate process becomes necessary. This involves the court appointing an administrator to manage the deceased’s estate and distribute it to beneficiaries.

However, not all assets are subject to intestate succession. Assets that are exempt include jointly held accounts, life insurance proceeds, and certain retirement accounts. Due to the complexities of intestate succession, it is often advisable to seek expert guidance, as legal assistance can be crucial in managing an intestate estate. The Law Office of Eric Ridley, a Ventura and Los Angeles California estate planning attorney, can provide this expertise and assistance.

Intestate Succession Laws in California

In the absence of a will, California’s intestate succession laws determine who inherits the deceased’s property. The distribution of assets is based on marital status and surviving relatives. For instance, spouses inherit all community property and a portion of separate property under intestate succession. More distant relatives, like children, parents, and siblings, may also inherit under these laws.

Certain rules and considerations, such as the Five-Day Survival Rule, Legal Separation, Per Stirpes Distribution, and Inheritance Rights of Half-Siblings, come into play under intestate succession in California. If there are no known heirs, a public administrator may be appointed by the court to oversee the decedent’s intestate estate. For guidance on these laws and assistance with the probate process, the Law Office of Eric Ridley can be an invaluable resource.

The Probate Process for Estates Without a Will or Trust

As mentioned, the probate process involves a court-appointed administrator managing the estate and distributing it to beneficiaries. This personal representative has key duties and responsibilities in managing an intestate estate. Certain assets may be excluded from the intestate estate, including those held in joint tenancy, transfer-on-death, and payable-on-death assets, as well as assets held in trust.

The probate process can be complex and time-consuming, but intestate succession laws help ensure the assets don’t end up with the state or in the hands of non-family members. For assistance with the probate process and guidance on intestate succession laws, consider seeking help from the Law Office of Eric Ridley.

Exceptions to Intestate Succession

As noted, there are exceptions to intestate succession. Assets held in joint tenancy, transfer-on-death, and payable-on-death assets, as well as assets held in trust, are exempt from the intestate estate. Understanding these exclusions is crucial, and the Law Office of Eric Ridley can provide assistance in this regard. Expert guidance can help individuals ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes and not solely based on intestate succession laws. The Law Office of Eric Ridley offers personalized estate planning services to achieve this.

The Importance of Estate Planning in Ventura, California

Estate planning in Ventura, California, is especially important due to the specific laws and regulations that apply in this region. The Law Office of Eric Ridley, a Ventura-based attorney, offers personalized estate planning services to meet each client’s unique needs.

Eric Ridley is dedicated to providing transparent and honest legal advice, aiming to make the estate planning process as easy and stress-free as possible. His goal is to help clients pass their hard-earned assets to their children. To explore the Law Office of Eric Ridley’s estate planning services for a personalized and comprehensive approach to your estate planning needs, visit their website at

Estate Planning Attorney Eric Ridley