Am I entitled to half of my mother’s estate when she dies or must I also wait for my stepfather to pass?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I entitled to half of my mother’s estate when she dies or must I also wait for my stepfather to pass?

My mom told me that I’ll get half of hers and my stepdad’s estate when

they pass. Now she’s been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. Am I entitled to half after she passes or does he have to pass too? They have a living Trust from what she says.

Asked on November 26, 2018 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If there's a trust, anything in the trust passes as per the instructions for the trust: when the trust was created, they should have stated what happens to the assets in it when one or both of them pass. Those instructions control what happens to trust assets.
Anything not in a trust:
1) Will pass as per a will, if your mother has one.
2) If there is no will, then the non-trust assets pass by "intestate succession"--the rules for who gets what when there is no will. In your state (CA), that means the stepfather get all her community property (her share of everything acquired during marriage) and 1/2 her seaprate property (what he had pre-marriage); you get the other 1/2 of her separate property.
You do not inherit from him until he passes. Since you are not his blood or adopted child, you would not inherit from him unless he has a will leaving it to you.

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 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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