Am I entitled to half of my mother’s estate when she dies or must I also wait for my stepfather to pass?

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Am I entitled to half of my mother’s estate when she dies or must I also wait for my stepfather to pass?

My mom told me that I’ll get half of hers and my stepdad’s estate when

they pass. Now she’s been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. Am I entitled to half after she passes or does he have to pass too? They have a living Trust from what she says.

Asked on November 26, 2018 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If there's a trust, anything in the trust passes as per the instructions for the trust: when the trust was created, they should have stated what happens to the assets in it when one or both of them pass. Those instructions control what happens to trust assets.
Anything not in a trust:
1) Will pass as per a will, if your mother has one.
2) If there is no will, then the non-trust assets pass by "intestate succession"--the rules for who gets what when there is no will. In your state (CA), that means the stepfather get all her community property (her share of everything acquired during marriage) and 1/2 her seaprate property (what he had pre-marriage); you get the other 1/2 of her separate property.
You do not inherit from him until he passes. Since you are not his blood or adopted child, you would not inherit from him unless he has a will leaving it to you.


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