What can we do if our mother recently passed away but my stepfather refuses to let go of anything?

She and my stepfather own a house, 2 vehicles and many personal possessions of my mom’s are still in his house. Are my siblings and I entitled to anything left of hers or is it now his because they are married? She did not have a Will. thanks.

Asked on August 22, 2014 under Estate Planning, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation as it is. If your Mother and Step-Father owned everything as husband and wife then it is considered Community Property and it passed automatically by operation f law to him at the time of her death. Property purchased during a marriage is considered community property as well. If your Mother held property that could be considered separate property - hers before they were married, etc. - the under the intestacy laws her spouse inherits all of their community property and 1/2 or 1/3 of her separate property and you as her children inherit 1/2 or 2/3 of her separate property.  Please go and speak with a lawyer in your area.  Good luck.

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.