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    What happens if I don't have an estate plan? 

    Remember, in California you can have your own estate plan drafted based upon your wishes.  However, if you fail to do so then California has a default plan for you and you may not like it.  So, if you don’t like the idea of your estate being distributed pursuant to California’s rules of intestacy (“default plan”) then you should have your own estate plan prepared that considers all of your unique needs. 

    A comprehensive estate plan should provide for the management of your affairs in the event of your incapacity and a smooth distribution of your assets upon your death. 

    In other words, if there is no estate plan, the courts will decide exactly what happens to your outstanding debt, your money, how much your survivors pay in taxes, etc. The court does not consider the best interests of your family, how to limit tax liability, or other factors. 

    Just google "estate planning nightmares" and you will see some famous examples of celebrities without estate plans, or without updated estate plans and how it impacts the family. Of course, you may not have millions of dollars in assets, but it doesn't make the process any easier or less stressful for the people who survive you. 

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