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By: Scott Grossman on October 16th, 2016

What to Do When You Are Omitted From a Spouse’s Will

It’s shocking to discover that your spouse left you out of his or her will. Don’t accept that you are not going to inherit any share of your spouse’s estate right away. California law has certain protections designed to benefit omitted spouses. You may be entitled to inherit a certain amount of the estate’s assets. Protecting your legal rights requires quick action.

Important Steps to Take if Omitted From a Spouse’s Will

The following are six important steps to follow:

  1. Contact an experienced attorney. Challenging a will or trust requires guidance from a knowledgeable and experienced attorney familiar with the complex laws of this field.
  2. Obtain a copy of the will.
  3. Carefully review the terms of the will. Does it include a provision that specifically omits you from receiving any of your spouse’s assets?
  4. You need to review the assets owned by your spouse. It is important to properly categorize these assets as either community property, quasi-community property, or separate property. The characterization of your spouse’s property directly impacts the share of your deceased spouse’s estate that you may be entitled to inherit regardless of being omitted from the will.
  5. List any assets transferred to you in another way. For example, if you received retirement accounts or life insurance policy proceeds, it is important to share this information with your attorney.
  6. Gather any written documentation relating to your deceased spouse’s estate planning. This includes communications made by your spouse as to his or her intentions.

Ready to learn more about protecting your legal rights when omitted from a spouse’s will?

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