top of page
  • Amanda Sicard

Why it's important to have Estate Planning

Why the sad passing of Prince teaches us a lesson about estate planning

If you’re of a certain age and remember the movie Purple Rain, you might be a fan of the late Prince or artist formerly known as Prince… Sadly, Prince left this world without a will. His estate took over six years to be settled! Eventually, upon its resolution which was early last year, his six half siblings were the heirs to his estate.

What happens if someone dies without a will?

So, what happens if someone dies without a will? It depends on where they reside as different states have different laws. Here in California, your assets will go to one’s closest relatives. If this happens it is called, “intestate.” During intestate, a local probate court will decide how to distribute the property and assets.

What is Intestate?

When someone dies in California, and doesn’t have a will, their assets are frozen and no one has access to them. The definition of “Intestate”, is “not having made a will before one dies”. It can also be referred to as intestacy, which is “the condition of the estate of a person who dies without having in force a valid will or other binding declaration (according to an online definition).

So what happens when one dies intestate? Under the rules of intestacy, only a married or civil partner can inherit the assets and in some circumstances if there is no spouse, a close relative may inherit them. The assets will then go through a probate process. During Probate there are proceedings through the superior court in the county of the deceased. The assets will be distributed according to the laws of the state. An administrator will be assigned and will be in charge of several duties, see “what is probate”.

This process can be very lengthy and tiring for the family left behind. For this reason, it is very important and recommended for anyone with any amount of assets to create a will and trust through estate planning with a trust and estate lawyer who specializes in it.

If you would like to learn more and start the process of creating a will and estate plan, give me a call. You will be glad you did and it will give both you and your surviving family peace of mind.


bottom of page