California community property and inheritence

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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California community property and inheritence

My mother and father are legally married in CA but hate each other. My mother makes all the money and my father is unemployed and has no income. My mother recently bought a house in her name only on the deed. She wants to know, if she makes a will to leave the house to her children only, and NOT her husband, what will happen if she dies first? Will my father her husband still get half the house due to community property laws?

Asked on March 13, 2018 under Family Law, California


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Community property is property acquired during marriage.  Each spouse has a one half interest in the community property.
Since the house was purchased during marriage, it is communitu property.  A spouse cannot will away any of the community property.  
Your mother and father each have a one half interest in the community property (the house).
If your mother predeceases your father, your father inherits the house because he inherits your mother's half of the community property.  Your father already has a half interest in the community property.
Your father will contest your mother's Will leaving the home to her children and he will prevail.
If the house had been purchased by your mother prior to marriage, it would be her separate property, and she could will it away or do whatever she wanted with it because a spouse (your father) has no claim to the other spouse's (your mother's) separate property.

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 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.

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