If I Die Without a Will, Can My Children Still Inherit My Assets?

If a person dies without a will in California, their assets may go to their closest relatives under intestate succession laws. If the individual died with children, the children can receive an intestate share of the decedent’s assets. The size of the child’s share can be dependent on how many children the decedent has and if he or she was married. For children to inherit under the laws of intestacy, the children must be considered by the State of California. For some families this can seem pretty straight forward, but it may prove more confusing for those who do not have a nuclear family. Some situations to keep in mind can include:

Children born during the decedent’s marriage. If the decedent has children with his or her widowed spouse, those children can receive a share of the estate.

Children born outside of marriage. If the decedent has children from a previous relationship, and it can be proven that the child was acknowledged and/or received care and support from the decedent, the child may be able to receive a share of the estate.

Adopted children. If the decedent has children he or she legally adopted, they may be able to receive a share of the assets just as biological children would.

Children placed for adoption. Children born to the decedent who were legally adopted by another family may not be entitled to a share of the estate.

Foster children and/or stepchildren. Stepchildren and/or foster children who were never legally adopted by the decedent may not be able to receive a share of the estate. However, there are certain circumstances wherein this can be negated.

Grandchildren. Grandchildren can usually only receive a share of the decedent’s estate if the child’s parent died before the decedent.

If you need the dedicated legal representation for wills, trusts, and estate matters in California, contact the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation.