What to do When Someone Dies Without a Will? Who Inherits When There is No Will?

Hi I’m Charlotte Volsch real estate broker, in the Inland Empire and High Desert. My team and I are experts at helping trustees, executors, and administrators to prepare market and successfully sell homes in probate or trust.
What to do when someone dies without a will? When someone passes away and there is not a will, it’ll be the hierarchal list of the closest relatives and how the succession works. Basically, who would become the beneficiaries of the decedent. And when this happens the laws of the state determines how the property of the decedent is distributed, and to whom. This includes:
• Real estate
• Bank accounts
• Securities, and
• Other assets
of the person who passed away. What will happen? First, the courts will determine who is going to be the administrator of the estate. When there is no will the courts will ask for a list of family members that can be considered for becoming the administrator of the estate.
The courts will choose that one person, typically it’s the surviving spouse or the domestic partner. If the surviving spouse, or domestic partner are not willing or able to run the estate then other family members become involved. After the spouse or domestic partner, the succession starts with adult children. If you already have been appointed and you’re settling an estate of a deceased person, you probably have a lot of questions. So, please feel
free reaching out to me, I’m here to help.
To find out who inherits certain property, as the personal representative the executor the administrator or trustee, you’ll be collecting some things. There’s a whole list and this is basically it:
1. Life in insurance proceeds
2. Real-estate
3. Bank accounts
4. vehicles
5. Any property held in a living trust
6. Funds in an IRA, a 401k, or a retirement plan for which a beneficiary has been named
7. Funds in a payable on death, a POD bank account
8. Stocks and other securities held in a transfer on death, a TOD account
9. And more!
Again, every state has different rules regarding intestate succession, so my recommendation is that you contact an attorney, hopefully if you’re in a probate you already have a probate attorney and get any questions regarding that specifically answered accurately. The last thing I want to cover is sometimes people ask me “will California get my money?!” That’s highly unlikely… the state of California would have to have found out that there is NO one. I’ve been
doing this for many years and there’s ALWAYS someone that is blood related to the decedent that inherits. It’s highly unlikely that the state will come in, it’s called escheat, and take the property of the decedent.
Hope this helps to explain what happens when there is no will. If you have any questions, I’m here to help.

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