Glendale, CA asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California

Q: in California is it true that all assets get split equally between the beneficiaries without a will?

a parent recently passed away unexpectedly and they never got around to updating their pension, retirement accounts or will. The Will that we had was “dismissed” so that all of the children get equal shares however nothing was said about his pension which (because it was created so long ago) only listed one child. We fear they are stealing from us. If so, we will get a lawyer immediately but we do not know if we have a case since their name was the only one. Please help!

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

A: I think you are saying that the parent only named one child as beneficiary of his retirement account. If that is so, then that is a binding decision on the part of the parent.

James Edward Berge agrees with this answer

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

A: Generally, beneficiary designations become active immediately after death and the beneficiary automatically becomes the lawful owner, by operation of law.

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