What happens to my property if I don’t have a will?

In the absence of a will, property will be distributed through a process known as intestacy. If someone dies intestate, the community property passes to the spouse or state registered domestic partner.  If there are surviving children, the surviving spouse will also receive one half of the decedent’s separate property. If there are no surviving children, but one or more of the decedent’s parents survive, the surviving spouse receives three quarters of the net separate property in addition to the community property.  There are additional levels of distribution if there are also no surviving parents, the probate attorney can explain this if necessary.