Whittier, CA asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California

Q: Hello, my sister recently passed away. She was married but bore no children of her own. She did have two step sons that

she helped raise. I am trying to find out if she had a will. My question is this...does her part of her "estate" automatically go to her husband with or without a will? She had mentioned to me that she had intended to leave her "half" of her property to my children "her only niece and nephew." I live in California. Can you shed some light on the law relating to this scenario? Would it be worth my while to hire an attorney? Thanks.

Thanks for your response. She is survived by her mother. How can I get a hold of her will if she indeed had one? Her husband (my brother in law) is being evasive and not responding to our questions regarding a will.

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4 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN
  • Licensed in California

A: If she had a will, then her will governs. If she had no will then her living parent(s) inherit half of her separate property and her spouse gets the rest. If her parents are both deceased, then her siblings inherit half of her separate property and her spouse gets the rest. You should hire a probate attorney to help you sort this out. The attorney's fees are paid out of the estate.

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Carlsbad, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If there is a Will then it has to be submitted to the Probate Court; it is a crime to hide one or destroy it (though probably impossible to prove that).

Contact the Probate Court for thee County where she lived and see if a Probate case has been opened. If there has, then you can view the Will -- it is a public document. If not, then you might consider petitioning the Probate Court for you to administer the estate; I am sure her husband would object but it would get him to move on this.

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • San Jose, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I agree with Nina, except you have to distinguish what was her separate property from her community property in California. Separate property passes as Nina says, but her half of the community property passes entirely to her spouse without a Will.

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • San Juan Capistrano, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Please refer to: https://www.sweeneyprobatelaw.com/Articles/My-Spouse-or-Registered-Domestic-Partner-Left-Me-Property-What-Should-I-Do.shtml

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