Dying Intestate California

Married with no children
The spouse gets all of the decedent’s community property and receives all of the separate property as well if the decedent is not survived by children, parents, brothers, sisters or children of a deceased brother or sister.
Married with child or children
The decedent’s community property usually all goes to the surviving spouse. If the decedent had only one child or the issue of a deceased child, the surviving spouse also receives one half of the separate property. The other half of the separate property goes to the child. The surviving spouse receives only one third of the separate property if the decedent left more than one child. The children equally spit the remaining two thirds.
Order of estate distribution if spouse survives
1) surviving spouse
2) decedent’s descendants
3) decedent’s surviving parents
4) issue of decedent’s parent(s)
5) issue of decedent’s grandparent(s)
6) issue of a predeceased spouse (Note: For personal property, the former spouse cannot predecease the decedent by more than five years; for real property, the time limit is 15 years.)
7) decedent’s next of kin
No spouse survives but there are other relatives
1) decedent’s children
2) decedent’s surviving parents
3) issue of decedent’s parent(s)
4) issue of decedent’s grandparent(s)
5) issue of a predeceased spouse (Note: For personal property, the former spouse cannot predecease the decedent by more than five years; for real property, the time limit is 15 years.)
6) decedent’s next of kin
Single person/ widow or widower
The estate is distributed as indicated below.
Order of estate distribution if decedent not married
1) decedent’s children
2) parents
3) siblings
4) decedent’s grandparents
5) aunts, uncles, cousins
6) “next of kin in equal degree” which generall means more distant cousins
No surviving relatives
The estate reverts to the state of California
State link
http://tinyurl.com/2beech
Special notes
If a domestic partner dies, the surviving domestic partner will inherit a portion of the estate provided that both parties are registered with the California Secretary of State as domestic partners. The portion of the estate the surviving domestic partner will inherit depends on whether there are surviving children or other relatives.

2 thoughts on “Dying Intestate California

  1. Steve Ehlers

    If one dies intestate in California. From what I see, his spouse recieves all community property. What I am not clear on is what then happens when the spouse dies intestate as well. Ar ehte first decedent’s family/ relatives eligible to receive anything from the original community/ estate? Thank you.

    Reply
  2. Jennifer Shepard

    I have a friend who is married to her second husband who has ill health and has no will. It is the second marriage for both and each have children from their previous marriages (he has three children). She is assuming that she will inherit everything and we can’t convince her otherwise. What does California law dictate in this case?

    Reply

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