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If someone close to you has recently passed on, it can be a difficult and trying time. As you grieve your loss, you may be wondering how to deal with your loved one’s will and whether you have a right to an inheritance. Inheritance administration is an important part of the role of an inheritance attorney or estate planning attorney, and when you need help with inheritance or wills, an inheritance attorney should be your first point of call for advice and support.

Where There’s A Will…

If your loved one has left a will before they have passed on, this is an important legal document that can help you carry out your loved one’s final wishes in relation to their property and assets. An estate attorney can help you to understand the instructions in a will, take the will to probate and see what your entitlements are according to the will and your relation to the deceased.

Inheritance Rights for A Husband or Wife

In the State of California, the law actually prohibits leaving a husband or wife completely out of the will. In California, each spouse automatically owns half of whatever is acquired within the marriage, unless there is an express written statement that this will not be the case. This provision of half of the assets acquired during a marriage is true regardless of what the will states. In these cases, the surviving spouse still has a claim.

A spouse can elect to give his or her share of the community property to someone other than the spouse however they cannot distribute the surviving spouse’s share. Clauses and provisions in a prenuptial agreement may also change a spouse’s right to distribute the property. Dealing with a deceased spouse’s estate is an extremely stressful and difficult task for a surviving spouse, and a discussion with an inheritance attorney can be of great benefit.

Inheritance for Children

Most states don’t grant legal rights for inheritance to children automatically. However, children may still have a right to claim an inheritance from a parent’s property in some circumstances. The state will often have laws to protect against accidental disinheritance, such as where a valid will was written before the birth of a child, and the child’s siblings were included on this will, even though later children were not. This could indicate that the child should be included on the will as his or her siblings were.

Obviously, these laws and provisions are complex, and really require the expert attention of an inheritance attorney in order to obtain a full understanding of the laws and the ways they interact with other areas of estate planning.

Inheritance for Grandchildren

In general, grandchildren don’t have a legal right to inherit from a grandparent, however, a grandchild may have a claim on the inheritance in the same way a child might have a claim, particularly if there is no express statement of disinheritance. With the advice of an estate attorney, you can determine more clearly your rights to an inheritance as a grandchild according to your specific case.

Losing a loved one can cause emotions to run high as the assets of that person are distributed. Effectively taking care of essential tasks like managing inheritance distribution with the help of a knowledgeable and sympathetic inheritance attorney, can help to ease much of the stress of this difficult time.