Q.How does spousal petition process work?
A.The surviving spouse (or domestic partner) must file or arrange to be filed a spousal property petition with the Superior Court in the county in which the deceased spouse (partner) lived.
The petition must tell the court the facts of the case (name of the deceased, date of death, name of surviving spouse or partner, etc.), why the spousal petition is appropriate, and list all of the community property owned by the deceased and all of the separate property left to the spouse in a Will.
The petition will ask the Court to (1) state that the decedent's half of the community property passed to the surviving spouse by operation of law and (2) confirm that the surviving spouse's half of the community property belongs to the surviving spouse.
Once the petition is filed, a hearing date will be set and a notice of the hearing will be sent to everyone who is mentioned in the will (if there is one) and all of the heirs of the decedent (if there is no will). If there is no objection to the spousal property petition, the court will sign an order that transfers all of the community property to the surviving spouse's.
The spousal property order should then be recorded with the County Recorder in each county where real property (e.g., land, home, building) is located to put the surviving spouse's ownership of the property on the public record. Copies of the order should also be given to financial institutions and brokerages to clear up any ownership questions concerning other assets.