Death or divorce usually usher in major life changes for the people involved. They both deal with alterations of family relationships, property, and possibly even lifestyle. The issue over property usually comes into conflict especially in the legal sense. So what happens when both of these life changes occur at the same time? Which law takes precedence? Divorce law in California says that any community property; assets obtained during the marriage; must be split in half. Yet estate law states that upon a person’s death, his or her will may distribute the property in whatever way they choose.
The answer to this problem is actually entirely up to the soon-to-be ex-spouse of the deceased. They may either take from the will or to take their community property share but not both. Therefore, the person receiving benefits should consider both options and take the one that is most advantageous. Regardless, death and divorce are difficult events and an attorney can be useful during these times.