What can we do if our mother recently passed away but my stepfather refuses to let go of anything?

UPDATED: Aug 22, 2014

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What can we do if our mother recently passed away but my stepfather refuses to let go of anything?

She and my stepfather own a house, 2 vehicles and many personal possessions of my mom’s are still in his house. Are my siblings and I entitled to anything left of hers or is it now his because they are married? She did not have a Will. thanks.

Asked on August 22, 2014 under Estate Planning, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation as it is. If your Mother and Step-Father owned everything as husband and wife then it is considered Community Property and it passed automatically by operation f law to him at the time of her death. Property purchased during a marriage is considered community property as well. If your Mother held property that could be considered separate property - hers before they were married, etc. - the under the intestacy laws her spouse inherits all of their community property and 1/2 or 1/3 of her separate property and you as her children inherit 1/2 or 2/3 of her separate property.  Please go and speak with a lawyer in your area.  Good luck.

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