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If you are married for 17 years (no children) in California ...

Resolved Question:

If you are married for 17 years (no children) in California without a pronuptial agreement and your partner dies without having made up a will what is the surviving spouse´s rights in terms of inheritance?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 9 years ago.

Thanks for the question. Here is the information that you asked for in this matter.

The rights of inheritance for a person who is married at death depends upon the nature of the assets owned. Assets can be community or quasi-community property (acquired during marriage either in or out of California) or separate property (owned before marriage or acquired during marriage by gift or inheritance).

All community property and quasi-community property passes entirely to the surviving spouse.

Any separate property of the decedent is distributed to the surviving spouse or domestic partner and other relatives, depending on the relatives who survive, as follows:

  1. Spouse or domestic partner and children: One-half to spouse or domestic partner and one-half to one child if there is only one child. If there is more than one child, one-third goes to the spouse or domestic partner and two-thirds to the children, in equal shares.
  2. If there are no children or grandchildren (if there is a deceased child, the children of the deceased child take his or her share), then one-half to the spouse and one-half to the decedent's parents equally, or one-half to the surviving parent if one parent is deceased.
  3. If there are no children, grandchildren, or parents of the deceased, then one-half goes to the spouse and one-half to the decedents' brothers and sisters, equally (half-brothers and half-sisters share equally with full brothers and sisters). If there are any deceased brothers or sisters, the children of the deceased brother or sister take that parent's share, equally.
  4. If there are no children, grandchildren, parents, brothers or sisters, nieces or nephews, then all of the separate property passes to the surviving spouse.


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