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California: Intestate Succession
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Intestate Succession

Who Inherits When There is No Will? 

If a loved one dies without a will, the state’s intestacy laws come into effect. The state will choose a will executor, a surviving spouse or child who then oversees the distribution of the estate. Intestacy laws are categorical on who inherits when there is no will.

Who Inherits When There is No Will? 

If a loved one dies without a will, the state’s intestacy laws come into effect. The state will choose a will executor, a surviving spouse or child who then oversees the distribution of the estate. Intestacy laws are categorical on who inherits when there is no will. 

Married partners  

Married partners are the first in line to inherit under the laws of intestacy. A surviving spouse is only eligible for the inheritance if they were married or in a civil partnership with the decedent. 

Divorced and separated partners of the deceased cannot inherit unless a judge rules in their favor. The same applies to cohabiting or common-law partners. 

If a legally recognizable spouse survives the deceased, the spouse inherits all jointly held property in marriage, plus half of all property the decedent held separately. 

Children  

Surviving children inherit what remains after the spouse takes all community property and half of the separate property. If there are no children surviving the deceased, the spouse gets to inherit everything. 

Parents 

If the decedent is only survived by parents (no children and no spouse), the parents get to inherit the entire estate after probate. If there is a surviving spouse, the parents get what remains after the spouse inherits all marital property and half of the separate property. 

Siblings 

Where there are no surviving children or parents, the siblings inherit half of the decedent’s separate property. The spouse inherits everything that remains in their joint and separate estates. 

The state  

If there are no close family members to inherit the estate, the state considers the deceased’s nephew, nieces, uncles, and aunties when the courts establish no close or distant relatives the deceased person’s estate escheats to the state. 

Key things to note about intestate succession. 

Community property 

In California and other states, community property refers to all assets jointly held in a marriage. These are the assets that the decedent and their spouse acquired while married and may include salaries, joint accounts, or home (s). 

Separate property 

This is the property that the decedent owned before marriage. This category also includes assets that they may have acquired during marriage but which they held separately in their name. Separate assets may consist of gifts, IRA accounts, and inheritances. 

Spouses 

Under intestacy laws, a spouse is legally married to the deceased at the time of his or her death. This definition includes same-sex couples. 

Children 

All the decedent’s surviving children have a right to inherit part of the estate during probate without a will. Under intestacy laws, biological children adopted children or children from a previous relationship are all considered equal. However, stepchildren are only considered if they were legally adopted. Children receive their share of the inheritance when they turn 18. 

Siblings 

If the intestacy laws recognize the siblings’ right to inheritance, this category will encompass the deceased brother and sisters, stepbrothers and stepsisters, and even adopted siblings.

Intestacy inheritance laws 

Survivorship laws (Cal. Prob. Code § 6403.) 

For all the parties who inherit where there is no will, a special kind of survivorship clause is enforced. In California and many other states, an heir should outlive the deceased person by 120 hours to qualify for inheritance. So, if Son gets a cardiac arrest and dies after getting news of Father’s death, Son’s surviving children and spouse will not receive anything from Father’s estate. 

Half-relatives (Cal. Prob. Code § 6406.) 

If the decedent has a stepsister or stepbrother-where siblings qualify to inherit the estate -they will have the same and equal rights to the estate as the deceased full brother or full sister. 

Immigration status (Cal. Prob. Code § 6411.) 

It doesn’t matter whether the deceased spouse, children, or other heirs is an American citizen or not. It doesn’t matter whether they are legal residents of the US or not. They inherit in all cases. 

Minor Children 

Usually, when there is a will, the document will identify a guardian for the children. In intestate succession, the courts appoint a guardian. The minors’ inheritance is safeguarded, and the guardian is required to submit bi-annual accounting reports to the probate court. The court only orders the release of the assets or funds to the child after their 18th birthday. 

Where an heir has died  

If the dead heir was a close family member or relative to the decedent, his or her children get to inherit all that their parent would have obtained from the estate. Probate attorneys can help intestacy executors to figure this out. Probating an estate without a will can be complicated. California probate attorney Hess Verdon can make it simpler. Call (949) 706- 7300.

California Intestate Succession : Probate Intestacy

Probate Overview

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California Intestate Succession : Probate Intestacy

Probate Attorney Questions

Are you looking for a probate lawyer in the Orange County area? When it comes to the practice of Trust and estates, it can be difficult finding an attorney that’s experienced in 

California Intestate Succession : Probate Intestacyhandling your specific issues.

Request a consultation today.

What is Probate

To understand what probate litigation is, one first has to understand what is “probate.” When a loved one dies, i.e., the decedent leaves behind their property, jewelry, bank accounts, etc., i.e., the decedent’s estate. The decedent’s estate should be transferred to family members (beneficiaries) and heirs after all taxes, debts, etc. are paid out.

Choosing the Right Probate Law firm is Paramount

When you are looking for an Orange County Probate Attorney. Hess-Verdon & Associates is one of the most reliable and most sophisticated trusts and estate law firm in the state of California at both the trial and appellate levels. 

Our probate litigation team has spent years acquiring extensive experience in trial preparation, strategy, and trial presentation to help you with your specific case.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs, our qualifications, staffing approaches, and rate structures with a view toward the successful resolution of Estate, Trust, and Probate-related problems.