Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

My father-in -law passed away and was separated from my mother-in-law for almost ten years. They lived separately but still had joint bank accounts. I loved him immensely but he was a very lazy man. They had joint bank accounts as she paid his bills for him. He had been talking about taking care of his will just prior to his passing so that my son would inherit something. Unfortunately he passed away. My husband is vey angry with his mother and wants to consult an attorney to see if there is anything he can do to prevent his mother from inheriting everything. Does he have a valid claim? I don't want to meet with an attorney if there is just nothing he can do. Thanks for your help!

Asked on 11/12/14, 12:07 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Len Tillem Tillem McNichol & Brown

On the death of an account holder, joint tenancy accounts pass to the surviving joint tenant or joint tenants, outside of probate. The same applies to other assets such as vehicles and real property that are titled in joint tenancy.

If there are any assets in your father-in-law's name alone, then these assets are in his estate and pass under the terms of his will, if he has one. If he has no will, then the wife gets all of the community property and either 1/2 (if there's only one child) or 1/3 (if there's more than one child) of the father's separate property.

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Answered on 11/12/14, 12:55 pm

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