When you are handling any matter involving inheritance law, you may want to look into California’s Probate law about many topics. Inheritances or legacies can get complicated because California’s community property rules play into who actually inherits, and how much is inherited depending on whether or not the asset is community or separate in nature.
Does the wife inherit all or just some of the assets if there is no will?
The answer to that question depends on each asset. You have to determine if the asset is community, the wife gets all of it, when there is no will. That wife can be a wife of 50 years, or 15 minutes. If the asset is separate property, the share of the wife (assuming she is the survivor) can be 1/3, if there are two or more children. The share varies with the number of children.
How does the law protect children from a prior marriage?
California’s estate law is complex. If a step-parent inherited real property from her spouse, and the deceased spouse had children from a prior marriage, then the children from the former marriage of a deceased spouse get her share under certain timelines. If the spouse died within 15 years from the decedent and his real property had gone to the decedent, the step-children have rights to their parent’s share which landed in the deceased’s estate.
Probate Code 9402.5 provides
“(a) For purposes of distributing real property under this section if the decedent had a predeceased spouse who died not more than 15 years before the decedent and there is no surviving spouse or issue of the decedent, the portion of the decedent’s estate attributable to the decedent’s predeceased spouse passes as follows:
(1) If the decedent is survived by issue of the predeceased spouse, to the surviving issue of the predeceased spouse; if they are all of the same degree of kinship to the predeceased spouse they take equally, but if of unequal degree those of more remote degree take in the manner provided in Section 240.”
If you have received a notice of hearing, and you are wondering why you have received it, look to us to guide you in California’s inheritance law. Call Mina Sirkin at 818.340.4479