An Asset Is Stuck if You Haven’t Set It Up to Transfer at Your Death Easily
The best way to describe “stuck” assets is to tell you the 3 ways that an asset will NOT be stuck at your death.
- You died with a properly set up trust. This process should be relatively smooth and quick.
- Your assets are set up to transfer automatically. That normally means that you co-owned those assets with someone else in a particular way or the assets had death beneficiary designations.
- Your assets are low enough in value to be considered a “small estate”.
You can read more details about all three of these in our post called “Transferring Assets at Death 2 – Methods”. If you haven’t read that writing, then make sure to check it out.
A Probate Decedent’s Estate Court Proceeding Is Necessary to Transfer Any Stuck Assets
If one of the first three ways is not available, then the asset is stuck. If an asset is stuck, then a probate decedent’s estate court proceeding is necessary to get it unstuck and to get that asset to whoever is supposed to receive it.
A Will Is Necessary to Make Sure Stuck Assets Go to the People You Want to Receive Them
If you have a will, then your assets will go to the people you named in the will. That will happen at the end of the probate decedent’s estate court proceeding.
If you don’t have a will, then at the end of the probate decedent’s estate court proceeding, your assets will go to your heirs. Your heirs are your closest living relatives as defined by California law. That works fine for some people, but not for everyone.