What is a child’s right to their father’s estate if he remarried and then died without a Will in a community property state?

Father died with no Will; 3 living children from my father’s previous marriage. After my mother died 24 years ago, he sold off all the marital property and remarried a year later. He eventually moved out of state with his new wife. They purchased a home there and I guess because of no Will and being in a community property state, his new widow found out she could not just sell off everything. She is now asking my dad’s children from a previous marriage to sign away their rights to his estate.

Asked on November 29, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In most states in this country when a person dies without a Will, his or her estate must be administered through the intestacy process of the probate court in the county and state where the person last resided before passing.

In an intestacy process, the assets of one who has dies are given in degrees to those closest releated, namely wife and children (natural and adopted). From what you have written, you and your siblings most likely are entitled to a portion of your father's estate under the intestacy laws of the state where he last resided upon death.

I suggest that you consult with an attorney in the county and state experienced in Wills and trusts where your father last resided. If you want to inherit from your father's estate, I would not sign away any rights to it without first knowing what assets there are and the estimated value.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.