When a person dies without a will

My father passed away and
my step mother went to get
a permit to redo her roof
and she found out that she
didn’t have title

Asked on December 9, 2018 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If there was no will, the house will be inherited according to "intestate succession"--the rules for who gets what when there is no will. If the house was acquired by your father while he and your stepmother were married, it was "community property" and she now gets sole ownership. But if he owned it pre-marriage, it was his "separate property," which means that you and any siblings of yours get either a 2/3 interest in the house (if there are more than one of you; all his children then share the 2/3 interest equally) or 1/2 (if you are the only child of your father) and your stepmother gets the other 1/3 or 1/2 interest.
To put the title in the name(s) of those who inherit, it will have to go through probate; contact the probate court for instructions (or better yet, hire an attorney to help).

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