After the impact of one’s death in Los Angeles has had a chance to sink in, their immediate family members will often share the same question: “Now what?” Specifically, when one leaves behind a family, they typically want to know what will become of the decedent’s estate, including their home and other personal property. Who maintains ownership of those assets? Who becomes responsbile to settle any unresolved debts? The uncertainty that can come with such questions can often compound what is already a difficult situation. 

Hopefully, a decedent took steps to ensure that their surviving spouse maintaines ownership of assets such as their home and personal property. Yet even in the event that their may be questions as to whether such assets may indeed transfer ownership during the estate administration process, the law allows those that were utilizing them at the time of the decedent’s death to continue to do so until such matters are well on their way to being resolved. Indeed, Section 6500 of the California Probate Code states that a person’s surviving spouse and minor children are entitled to continue to retain possession of assets such their home and personal property after their deaths and even up to the point of their estate inventory being filed with the court (as well as 60 days thereafter). 

When might the issue of temporary possession of estate assets come into play? Say that one has debts when they die, and the only way to settle those debts is to sell their home and other property. This statute ensures that their family is taken care of in such a scenario. As CBS News reports that Americans die with an average of $62,000 in debt, it is not unreasonable to expect that this may be a concern many are left to deal with.