Campbell, CA asked in Estate Planning for California

Q: I’m inheriting my parents home, do I need a will prior, or can I do it later when the home is in my name?

I do not have children, I’m Single, I live in California.

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3 Lawyer Answers
Julie King
Julie King
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Monterey, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You likely need a trust, but a lawyer would need to ask you a number of questions before being able to advise you on your specific situation. Many estate planning lawyers offer a free initial consultation, so you can find out what would work best for you. Best wishes!

Rebecca Sommer agrees with this answer

Rebecca Sommer
Rebecca Sommer
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Anaheim, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Some additional information is needed to fully answer your question - are your parents still alive? How does their will/trust distribute the house if you predecease them? Etc. I can still give you some general information however.

If you do not do a will then the assets will pass by intestate law. Since you are single and without children, anything you own will go to your nearest relative which the law outlines as parents, then siblings, then cousins, and so on.

If you want to direct where your assets go in the event of your death, at a minimum you need a will. It will address all of your assets so it would be best to do one sooner rather than later. Depending on how you want to distribute your assets, it can be written to include all of your assets at death so you do not have to re-do the will after you inherit the house. The exception would be if you want the house specifically to go to one person and other assets to go somewhere else.

Also you may want to consider a trust. A will does NOT avoid having to go through probate, but assets in a trust avoid the hassle and expense of probate.

Howard E. Kane
PREMIUM
Howard E. Kane
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Oakland, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If your parents are still alive, they should definitely have a trust (and other estate planning documents) that names you as their beneficiary of the home. You should also have a trust and name your beneficiaries so that your beneficiaries can avoid the probate process. It's never too early to put together a trust or otherwise plan your estate. Once it is drafted, you can seamlessly fund the trust with the property once your parents pass.

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