Dying Without a Will in California

When a person dies without a will (California Probate Code §88) in California they are said to have died “intestate”. Who inherits is then determined by the laws of intestate succession (California Probate Code §240). Generally, if there is no surviving spouse, the children of the person who died will inherit the estate.

In this case, my client’s mother partied with my client’s natural father during the ’60’s. As a result of the partying, my client was born, but my client’s mother and natural father were never married to each other. Prior to my client’s birth, her natural father had been married to another woman, who also gave him a child. That child’s mother and my client’s natural father were divorced after a few years of marriage and before my client was born..

My client’s natural father died recently, without a will, intestate. He owned a home and had some bank accounts, leaving a respectably sized estate. However, without a will, a probate was required to appoint a personal representative who could then transfer the property (California Probate Code §8000).

I’ll describe what happened in my next post.