Legal Question in Civil Litigation in California

My father passed away last year on 8/26/2022, leaving a wife. He has 3 adult children and 2 adult stepchildren. Supposedly there was no will and no beneficiaries listed any 401k, life insurance, etc. so everything defaulted to his wife. I would estimate she got anywhere from $500,000-$600,000. Just recently we found out she is dying of cancer and has 6 months to live. Do we have any right to take her to court now knowing she is dying to get the money from my father's inheritance when she dies or does it automatically go to her children?


Asked on 7/21/22, 3:37 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

You might be able to get some of it. By intestate succession rules, if a person dies with no will and no designated beneficiaries, everything should be submitted to the probate court. Division would normally be 1/2 to the wife, and the other 1/2 divided equally among the wife and any natural or adopted children. If his estate was not probated, there should still be time to file and obtain an accounting and distribution of his estate. Also, if anything he had was not community property, then that would be divided equally among the wife and children, rather than 1/2 going to the wife first.

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Answered on 7/22/22, 10:45 am


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