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In CA if someone who is married dies without a will and has no children, but living parents, then the spouse inherits all the community property and half of the separate property. The parents inherit the other half of the separate property.
So if he and his mother were tenants in common on a house, then they both own 50%. When he passes, his 50% gets divided between his spouse 25% and his mother 25%.
It doesn't matter who lived there or who paid the taxes on the property, it was co-owned so is divided according to default CA intestate law if there is no will.