If my daughter’s dad passed without a Will, does she have any rights to his estate?

She was told in a round about way she wasn’t receiving anything. He had (has) a large estate. He was a contract attorney and it’s hard to believe there is no Trust but it’s possible.

Asked on August 1, 2014 under Estate Planning, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Since your daughter's dad died without a will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a will.

Under intestate succession, the surviving spouse inherits the entire estate.  If you are the surviving spouse, you inherit your daughter's dad's entire estate and your daughter inherits nothing.  If you and your daughter's dad were divorced, if he remarried and has a surviving spouse, she inherits the entire estate.  Your daughter inherits nothing.

Your daughter does not inherit anything from her dad's estate because there is a surviving spouse.

If there had not been a surviving spouse, your daughter and her siblings would inherit her dad's estate and would each receive equal shares.  For example, if there were three children, they would each receive 1/3.  If there is a deceased sibling, who had surviving children, those grandchildren would inherit the share their deceased parent would have inherited had that deceased parent survived.

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