Understanding Probate and Who Inherits: A Comprehensive Guide

When a person passes away, their assets are distributed according to their will or, if there is no will, according to the laws of intestate succession. This process is known as probate. To understand who inherits in the absence of a will, it is important to understand the basics of probate and how it works. If there are no surviving parents, the inheritance is evenly distributed among the surviving siblings.

Like children, siblings inherit equally, even if they only share one parent. When there are no surviving spouse, parents, children, grandchildren, or siblings of any grade, the inheritance will pass to the closest family members. Your spouse will inherit half of the community's assets. If you have separate assets (many spouses mix everything up and don't have separate assets), your spouse will inherit all or part of it.

The size of your spouse's share of your separate assets depends on whether or not you have living parents, children, siblings, nieces, or nephews. If you do, they and their spouse will share their separate assets. In some cases, the person requesting the appointment will handle the estate without hiring an attorney. However, many valuable assets do not go through probate and are not affected by testamentary succession laws. In most cases, the person seeking appointment as a personal representative (executor or administrator) hires an attorney with experience in probate matters to prepare and file a probate petition.

The personal representative must identify, take possession, and manage probate assets until all debts have been paid and tax returns have been filed. If the entirety of the will is found to be invalid, the profits are likely to be distributed in accordance with state intestate succession laws, unless there is a previously revoked will that is reinstated and admitted as a will. While some states make exceptions for small estates, larger states require a probate court to appoint a trustee to distribute the assets and close the estate. In the case of California taxes, the executor must file all necessary state income tax returns, state trust income tax returns during the probate period, and gift and estate tax returns. If your closest family members are minors, a probate court will appoint a trustee to oversee the management of the assets. Probate can be a complex process that requires an understanding of both state and federal laws. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate through this process and ensure that your loved one's wishes are carried out in accordance with their wishes.

Probate can be an intimidating process for those who are unfamiliar with it. It is important to understand how it works so that you can make sure that your loved one's wishes are carried out in accordance with their wishes. Knowing who inherits in the absence of a will can help you plan for your own future and ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes when you pass away.

Kristie Funn
Kristie Funn

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