Unmasking 2 Common California Probate Myths

People unfamiliar with California probate law can make some unproven assumptions about what happens to financial obligation and property after a relative dies. Here are two of the most typical misconceptions and the actual truths.

1. Debts After Death
If you are the beneficiary of somebody’s estate, are you accountable for using a few of the possessions delegated you to settle any of their remaining debts?

It is not unusual for debt collectors to attempt to gather on the financial obligations of the deceased. You need to understand that a beneficiary typically has no legal duty when it comes to repaying a deceased relative’s financial obligations.

There are some exceptions to this– among which is when a partner co-signs a loan, they will be accountable for that financial obligation upon the death of the other partner. A debt collector has to go through the probate process to collect the financial obligation. And since California is not a neighborhood home state, financial obligations that were not sustained collectively belong only to the individual who incurred them– when they die, any impressive debts normally go uncollected. In addition, under California law, a married couple that has actually jointly held property is not responsible for the financial obligation if only one spouse signed for the loan.

2. Residential or commercial property Transfer Upon Death
Many California residents think– wrongly– that they can leave their residential or commercial property to whomever they select. If you are wed or have kids, California law places some constraints on your right to move property.

Unless a making it through partner’s homestead rights have actually been nullified by a premarital or post-marital arrangement, a life estate passes to the making it through partner, with the rest going to any enduring kids.

If a making it through spouse is bestowed less than 30 percent of the estate, they can exercise optional share rights to declare 30 percent of the worth of the estate. If you got married and did not change your will to include your spouse– and you are still married when you die– your enduring spouse is exactly what is referred to as a “pretermitted” partner, which entitles them to at least 50 percent of your estate, unless they were purposefully omitted.

If you have kids from a prior marriage or relationship, then those making it through kids receive the other half of the estate. If you and your surviving spouse had kids together, then the pretermitted spouse also gets an additional $75,000. The pretermitted partner gets the entire estate if there were no children.  When looking into preventing probates, make sure you read our article on Living Trust Scams, as I am sure when there is money involved, there are some that would prefer to just take your money without providing the service.