UPDATED: May 14, 2009

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my dad died without a will who gets all of this inheritance?

Asked on May 14, 2009 under Estate Planning, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

California's law of intestate succession specifies who gets what. If he is married his spouse gets the community property. His separate property is divided between his spouse, if any and his children based on the number of children (and descendants of deceased children). 

If he held property in joint tenancy, the surviving joint tenant takes it by operation of law. If he had POD accounts, the terms of the POD instructions govern. If he had life insurance the named beneficiary usually takes. If it's a 401(k) the surviving spouse usually takes under Federal law unless the spouse waived her rights in a notarized document.

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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