Estate Planning lawyers know this all to well. If a married couple reside in a community property state like California, the surviving spouse has marital rights to acquire the entire estate. Remember as a member of that marital community, if you have a specific gift to give to someone other than your spouse, it behooves you to write at least a Will to specify that gift or gifts and to whom you wish to leave the prized heirloom or asset, if you haven’t gifted before your death.
My Mom’s death was a topic which was hard and difficult. In fact, seriously avoided up until the later years of her life. We expected her death to be due to Congestive Heart Failure, since she had lived with complications of CHF for about twenty years. Those complications lead to further health declines and inevitably, major open heart surgery. Unfortunately, she died abruptly in a car accident. Car accidents are never foreseeable.
In my case, there were many things my Mom verbally gifted to me but because of her death, my Dad either had no knowledge of the intent to gift or refused to honor the bequeath. Avoid the problem and gift or make provision in a Will now!
http://www.educationalfamilyestateapps.com provides cheap legal advice in the form of education! To be forewarned is to be forearmed!