Rancho Cordova, CA asked in Estate Planning for California

Q: I live in California. I am disabled. If Both parents pass without a will., Will I inherit their homes automatically?

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3 Lawyer Answers

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney

  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Carlsbad, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: That depends on whether or not you have siblings. It has nothing to do with whether or not you are disabled.

If one spouse dies intestate (without a Will) then all of the community property passes to the surviving spouse. If that surviving spouse then dies intestate, the estate is divided among the children equally.

Jonathan Purcell

  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Licensed in California

A: In general, property that passes by way of a will, a trust, or through intestacy (no will) does not pass automatically.

But certain types of property such as a payable on death bank or brokerage accounts, may pass to the beneficiary automatically.

If you receive public benefits due to your disability, a moderate inheritance could disqualify you from some or all of your benefits. A well-drafted disability trust integrated into your parent’s estate plan, could allow you to maintain public benefits, use some of your inheritance for specific items, and possibly stay in your parent’s home.

Carol A Fauerbach

  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Folsom, CA

A: Not necessarily. If there is real estate involved and the homes have not been placed in a trust, are not jointly owned by you, and you are not a transfer on death beneficiary, then you will have to go though the Probate Court which will decide how the property is distributed. If you are the sole intestate heir (typically when there are no other spouses involved and you are the only child), then you may likely inherit, but not without waiting for court authorization and possible significant cost. Your parents should contact an estate planning attorney to see what options might be available to them to avoid probate.

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