What are a child’s rights when a parent dies intestate?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What are a child’s rights when a parent dies intestate?

My father recently died and my sister and I are descendants. We live in different states. His wife has Alzheimer’s and was unable to settle his estate so her grandson took is taking it upon himself to do that. My dad left him specific instructions to give his daughters money and we have asked for a keepsake. My nephew has refused to honor my dads final wishes. What can we do?

Asked on July 31, 2015 under Estate Planning, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Without a Will, an estate is distributed according to the "intestacy" or "succession" laws of the state in which the deceased was domiciled as of the date of their death.

Typically, the distribution is 1/2-1/3 to the surving spouse, if any, and the remainder to be equally divided among the heirs. However, in CA, since it is a community property state, things are somewhat more complicated and beyond the scope of this service. You can contact the applicable probate court or a probate attorney for further information.

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.

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