What happens if you die without a will in a community-property state?

While intestate distribution in community-property states may vary slightly, here are a few examples of estate distribution if you die intestate in a community-property state:

Arizona

If you die with: Here’s what happens:
children but no spouse children inherit everything
spouse but no children spouse inherits everything
a spouse and children from you and that spouse spouse inherits everything
a spouse and children from you and someone other than that spouse spouse inherits 1/2 of your separate property but no interest in the 1/2 of the community property that belonged to you

children inherit 1/2 of separate property and the 1/2 of the community property that belonged to you

parents but no spouse or children parents inherit everything
siblings but no spouse, children, or parents siblings inherit everything

 

Washington

If you die with: Here’s what happens:
children but no spouse children inherit everything
spouse but no children, parents, or siblings spouse inherits everything
a spouse and children spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 of your separate property

children inherit 1/2 of your separate property

a spouse and parents spouse inherits all of your community property and 3/4 of your separate property

parents inherit 1/4 of your separate property

a spouse and siblings but no parents spouse inherits all of your community property and 3/4 of your separate property

siblings inherit 1/4 of your separate property

parents but no spouse or children parents inherit everything
siblings but no spouse, children, or parents siblings inherit everything

 

California

If you die with: Here’s what happens:
children but no spouse children inherit everything
spouse but no children, parents, siblings, nieces, or nephews spouse inherits everything
parents but no children, spouse, or siblings parents inherit everything
siblings but no children, spouse, or parents siblings inherit everything
a spouse and one child or grandchild spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 of your separate property
a spouse and two or more children spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/3 of your separate property

children inherit 2/3 of your separate property

a spouse and one child and one or more grandchildren from a deceased child spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/3 of your separate property

children inherit 2/3 of your separate property

a spouse and two or more grandchildren from a deceased child spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/3 of your separate property

children inherit 2/3 of your separate property

a spouse and parents spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 of your separate property

parents inherit 1/2 of your separate property

a spouse and siblings but no parents spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 of your separate property

siblings inherit 1/2 of your separate property

 

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