How is distribution of assets done under intestacy, or death without a will in California?

California Probate Code 240 and 241:  Intestate Distribution System

Intestate Distribution System California  (Intestacy is Death Without a Will)

California has a default system for distribution of assets of a deceased person, who died without a will in California.  It is called intestate succession.   Probate Code Sections 6400 et al govern our basic default inheritance and intestacy laws in California.


If a statute calls for property to be distributed or taken in the manner provided in this section, the property shall be divided into as many equal shares as there are living members of the nearest generation of issue then living and deceased members of that generation who leave issue then living, each living member of the nearest generation of issue then living receiving one share and the share of each deceased member of that generation who leaves issue then living being divided in the same manner among his or her then living issue.

(Enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79.)


Section 240 does not apply where the death of the decedent in the case of intestate succession or of the testator, settlor, or other transferor occurred before January 1, 1985, and the law applicable prior to January 1, 1985, shall continue to apply where the death occurred before January 1, 1985.

(Enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79.)

To get more information about intestacy in California, where someone died without a will call Mina Sirkin, Probate Attorney, at 818-340-4479, or email

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