If you die without a will, your property will be distributed to your heirs according to the laws of your state. Lawyers call this “intestate succession.”
The result may or may not coincide with your own wishes, but will almost always cost your loved ones an unnecessary amount of time and money as they navigate the probate process.
Below is an infographic that shows what happens to your property, in California, if you die without a will, trust, or estate plan.
(click image for larger view)