Rights of Spouses an Minor Children in California

Following a death in the family, the last thing a surviving spouse and minor children want to face is the possibility of losing the family home. Fortunately, a California law known as the Probate Homestead Exemption allows certain family members to remain in the family home following such an event, even if the deceased spouse passed without a will or left the property to someone else.

The Probate Homestead Exemption

Many people believe that when a spouse dies, the family home is automatically transferred to the surviving family members. Unfortunately, this is not always true. Situations frequently arise in which a non-family member is legally entitled to the family home. For example, a common situation in which property may pass to someone other than a current family member is when the deceased spouse executes a will leaving assets to persons other than home are living in the family home. Another common situation in which someone other than a surviving family member may be entitled to the family home is when a spouse dies without a will, where the family home was the deceased spouse’s separate property and the heirs are the decedent’s siblings. Finally, a creditor who is owed money from the deceased spouse may be able to compel the sale of the property to receive payment of its debt.

Luckily, California’s Probate Homestead Exemption provides certain surviving family members with a way to remain in the family home, even in situations such as those described above. This exemption permits California courts, upon petition by the decedent’s surviving spouse, registered domestic partner, or minor children to remain in the family home following the death of a spouse. There is one caveat, though: the right to use the homestead ends upon the death of the surviving spouse or, in the case of minor children, when the children reach legal adulthood.

If you are facing the loss of your home following the death of a spouse, it is essential that you consult with an experienced probate attorney in Los Angeles such as the highly reputable professionals at Keystone Law Group, P.C. Our attorneys take pride in guiding our clients through each step of the probate process and reaching a successful outcome. For further information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at 310-444-9060 or visit www.Keystone-Law.com.