What Happens to a Deceased Spouse's or Domestic Partner's Assets When They Die?
Scenario: Mike and Sally were high school sweethearts. They got married shortly after college and remained married for 47 years. During that time, they acquired joint assets, such as a house, cash in the bank and stocks in brokerage accounts. However, during their lifetime, Mike and Sally did not execute any estate planning documents. On a ski trip, Mike dies in a tragic snow mobile accident leaving Sally heartbroken and confused about how she should administer Mike's estate, or his portion of their joint assets.
Because they didn't execute any estate planning documents while Mike was still alive (even a Last Will & Testament), Mike is said to have died intestate. Sally starts Googling what to do, and she comes across an article that says "when someone dies intestate, then their estate needs to go through Probate." Sally is now worried because she has heard that Probate can be a long, expensive and very public court process.
Probate Can Be Avoided with Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Petition
What Sally is learning now, after she called the Law Office of Lauren Rios, is that she can collect Mike's portion of their assets and avoid Probate entirely.
The reason is California law provides that assets acquired during marriage, absent any other agreement saying otherwise, are what we classify as "community property." This means that the surviving spouse or surviving domestic partner has an automatic interest in the deceased person's half of the asset.
Through the use of a spousal or domestic partner property petition, a surviving spouse or surviving registered domestic partner can claim and collect the deceased spouse's or domestic partner's interest in an asset. The beauty of a spousal or domestic partner property petition is that is avoids Probate or, rather, the long and arduous court process of distributing a decedent's assets.
Get Your Order in 3-5 Days
Even though Spousal Property Petitions are a useful administration tool, many California Court systems are so backlogged (more so than ever due to COVID-19 and mandatory court closures) that filing a Spousal Property Petition and getting a Court Order can take months in many California counties.
But not here in San Mateo County!
In fact, if your client or loved one died as a California resident leaving California real estate or other California assets, our office can prepare a Spousal Property Petition and file it in San Mateo County on your behalf AND get a Court Order confirming the transfer of the assets of the deceased spouse/partner to the surviving spouse/partner within 3-5 days. This is true EVEN IF the decedent lived in ANY California County such as Alameda County, Santa Clara County, Marin County, Placer County, San Bernardino County, Fresno County, San Diego County...and so on and so forth. This is because San Mateo County Probate Court allows Spousal Property Petitions to be heard if ALL interested parties consent to venue in San Mateo County. They don't mind if the decedent lived in another California county!
So, why wait 4, 6, 9, or more months waiting for a Court hearing in your home county. Contact our office today for help confirming the transfer of the assets of the deceased spouse/partner to the surviving spouse/partner. We will get it done in a matter of days, not months...guaranteed!
Schedule your complimentary 15-minute phone call with us now!
California counties we serve: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba.
Keywords: estate administration, spousal property petition, domestic partner property petition, community property petition