A key point in estate planning is identifying your assets and the part you play in owning them. For example, if your home is titled in joint tenancy with your spouse, you both have equal rights of survivorship, and one of you will acquire the entire home without it going through probate if one of you should die. However, if you and your spouse own a home as tenants in common, meaning the property is not equally shared, a portion of your ownership passes to your heirs upon your death.

It is crucial to locate and categorize property so it is properly listed as an asset, either in your will or in another document, like a trust. This is where an estate planning attorney’s assistance becomes crucial. A Tustin lawyer could identify assets and establish ownership to help you better manage the probate process.

Multiple Owners Can Cause Confusion

It is usually easy to determine who owns a particular asset. Money in a bank account or stocks and bonds in an investment account belong to the person who signed for them. An automobile or motorcycle titled to one person is considered their property.

Ownership becomes murky when assets are owned by multiple people or are not noted in a will. One example is a business partnership. If partners have not made provisions for what happens to their shares of the business and one of them dies, the heirs of the dead partner could become new and possibly unwanted co-owners of the business. If two people own a piece of real estate as tenants in common and one co-owner dies, leaving the real estate share to be split among five adult children, there are now six tenants in common. An experienced Tustin lawyer knows how to pinpoint these assets and work to ensure ownership intentions are clear.

Benefits of Identifying and Establishing Ownership Rights

A proper inventory of assets and identification could stave off a lot of confusion when executing a will. Accounting for all assets in a will means the courts will not take over to distribute them. Assets that are unaccounted for are subject to intestacy under California Probate Code § 6401 & 6402, which lays out a formula for allocating assets to specific family members.

Confusion Can Lead to Invalidating a Will

Wills must name assets and the beneficiaries the testator wishes to receive them. Failing to properly name assets and beneficiaries can result in the probate court invalidating a will. When the court cannot match assets to beneficiaries, it will employ California law and disburse assets in order, beginning with spouses and children. A lawyer with experience in assets and ownership in Tustin could help to identify and establish asset ownership to help ensure that a testator’s wishes are followed.

A Tustin Assets and Ownership Attorney Could Get You Organized

The most important step to take when beginning estate planning is to identify any assets and whether they are owned outright or with others. Forgotten assets are considered intestate, meaning the probate court will determine where they go. Owning assets with others could cause problems for the beneficiaries who inherit them.

Our dedicated legal team could assist you in compiling an extensive list of your assets and how you own them. We could sit down with you and discuss the benefits of a will, how to ensure your assets go to those you wish, and whether depositing assets in a trust could be beneficial to your situation. Call now to get started on sorting out your assets and ownership in Tustin.

Los Angeles Offices

3733 Rosemead Blvd., Ste. 201
Rosemead, CA 91770

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1930 S. Brea Canyon Rd. #120
Diamond Bar,  CA 91765

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(626) 307-2800
(By Appointment Only)
Orange County Office

511 E 1st St., Suite H
Tustin,  CA 92780

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(626) 307-2800
(By Appointment Only)

Amity Law Group, LLP

Amity Law Group, LLP