Can spouse inherit if we have been separated for years?

By Schonauer Law on Sep 15, 2015 at 03:18 PM in Legal Questions


Can spouse inherit if we have been separated for years?

My wife left the children and I several years ago, and I have reason to believe she is in another country. If I pass away without any will, does she have a right to any inheritance?


If you pass away, your state's rules of intestate succession (disposition of decedent’s property without a will) will decide who get your property.  You may find these rules in the probate code.

Community Property

In California, your share of community property will go to your wife if you are not divorced.  Essentially, your wife will be entitled to all the property characterized as community property.

Separate Property

Your wife will be entitled to 1/3 or your separate property.  The rest of your separate property will be distributed to your children.

Special rules apply to real property that you own jointly.  If you and your wife are both on title to real property, how title is held may override intestate succession rules. Consult with an attorney to deal with any real property issues and establish an estate plan to protect your interests.

I am licensed in California only. The above information is based upon California Law. The above information is not based upon your particular facts, and as such is not legal advice. For a more complete information, based upon your particular situation, I advise that you consult with an attorney.