Oakland, CA asked in Estate Planning for California

Q: My brother recently died, him and his wife have been separated for about a year now, is she entitled to everything?

There is no will. She started the divorce paperwork but didn't finalize anything. Is she entitled to everything. My brother does have a daughter.

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

A: Probably she gets everything if there is no divorce and no Will or Trust that says differently.

If they are divorced then she gets nothing.

If they have children then they get a share.

1 user found this answer helpful

Julie King
Julie King
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Monterey, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It depends on whether your brother had a trust or will. Since the divorce was not final, she will definitely be entitled to something. But, whether she gets everything will depend on the language in the trust or will, if there was one in place. Otherwise, if your brother had assets totalling more than $166,250, your brother's estate (all of his assets and debts) must be reviewed by a probate court in a process that generally lasts 12 - 15 months. The judge will determine who gets what based on the law that covers situations where there is no trust or will.

1 user found this answer helpful

Howard E. Kane
Howard E. Kane
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Oakland, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I'm sorry to hear about your brother. His wife may not necessarily inherit everything. Did your brother have a Will or Trust? If not, your ex-sister-in-law may be considered a widow and will have entitlement to their half of the community property so long as no prenup or postnup agreement was in place. Ultimately, that will be decided by the probate court. In some instances, other beneficiaries of a decedent’s estate can bring a will contest to challenge the surviving spouse’s right to an inheritance.

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