I am a green card holder with no family in US and I do not have a will. I do have financial assets (stocks, cash, options etc). Members of my family are not US persons.
If you do not have a will or trust and your assets are worth more than $150,000 at your death, your relatives would have to open probate to claim the assets. The probate code sections for intestate succession will determine who is entitled to share in your estate. Yes, a statutory will will determine who shares in your estate but a trust will keep you out of probate.
Nothing contained in the information on this web site is to be considered as the rendering of legal advice for specific cases and readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel. This web site is intended for educational purposes only. Michael R. Weinstein, is licensed to practice only before the courts of the State of California, and is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Central District and the United States Cou rt of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit. No information contained herein is to be considered applicable to legal matters in domestic or foreign jurisdictions outside of the State of California.
Is a standard will enough? Yes. However, depending on your assets, a properly drafted estate plan, including a trust, may provide you with more control and less expense for estate administration. Without any documents in place, your estate would be distributed through the California laws regarding intestate succession.
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Don't die without a will. Get one done. A "standard" will may be plenty if your assets are less than $150,000. You need to make sure your family has a copy of the will and contacts an attorney when you die so that your assets can be properly transferred. Good luck.
I agree with my colleagues that you need to get a Will as well as other Estate Planning documents drafted. Depending on your native country the rules of probate administration are very different and often times hard to understand by family members living overseas. I therefore suggest that - as already suggested - that your family members have copies of your Estate Planning documents but also the contact information for your attorney drafting the documents. All the best to you.
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