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Addressing spouse omissions from estate instruments

Many of the clients that have come to see us here at The Law Office of Matthew C. Yu in the past are worried due to their loved ones not having updated their wills following their divorces. If you share the same concern, it likely comes from the assumption that if your now-deceased spouse did not specifically disinherit their ex, then the ex-spouse still stands to inherit their assets. You do not need to worry about this particular issue. Once your spouse's divorce was finalized, any provisions in their will pertaining to their ex-spouse were invalidated. 

This does not mean that there should no cause for concern on your part, however. If your spouse never updated their will after your marriage, then the question of your stake in their estate may arise. Fortunately, this exact scenario has been addressed in California's Probate Code. Per the law, even if you are not mentioned in your deceased spouse's estate planning instruments, you are automatically entitled to the following: 

  • One-half of their community property
  • One-half of their quasi-community property (any property the two of you acquired outside the state)
  • The same share of their separate property you would have been entitled to if they had died intestate (without a will) not to exceed one-half the total value of said property 

Yet there may be scenarios where you could be denied in inheritance if your spouse does not include you in their will. These include cases where it is believed that your omission was intentional, or where you have waived the right to receive any of their assets. You can learn more about the details involved in estate administration by continuing to browse through our site. 

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The Law Office of Matthew C. Yu
3620 Pacific Coast Hwy. Suite 200
Torrance, CA 90505

Phone: 310-986-2364
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