Does my father’s wife have any rights to his property even though I am the only one on his Will?

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Does my father’s wife have any rights to his property even though I am the only one on his Will?

The Will has been signed by two witnesses. My father was trying to divorce his wife not my mother before he ended up in the hospital with Esophageal Cancer. She is refusing to sign any divorce papers. They have a house both in their name. There is also other assets. My dad wrote that I get everything, including the house. Will this be the case, or does my dad’s wife have any legal say? I am not sure if this matters either, but she is an American citizen only through marriage. She originally came here from China.

Asked on September 30, 2019 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Community property is property acquired during marriage. Community property is also income earned during marriage and debt incurred during marriage. Each spouse has a one half interest in the community property. A spouse cannot will away community property.
Since the house is in both spouses' names, the intent appears to be that it is community property. If the house was purchased during marriage. Therefore, your father's wife has a one half interest in the house.
Separate property is property acquired, income earned, and debt incurred before marriage or after marriage ends. A spouse has no claim to the other spouse's separate property. A spouse can will away the separate property. Therefore, your father's wife has no claim to his separate property that you inherit through his Will.


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