Unless your mother asserts a community property interest in the accounts you are entitled to whatever benefits are available as designated beneficiary.
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I agree with Attorney Daymude. Normally, annuities pay to the designated beneficiary. This by-passes the probate estate and therefore, the Will, also. You did not say whether your mother is asserting an interest in the annuity. If she is, you may need to retain an attorney to assist you.
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If your father left a will and your parents were married at his death, then the will rules. However, If your mother asserts a community property interest in the annuity, she may be able to keep fifty percent of that asset. This is because in California, you mother owns fifty percent of the community property assets and your father was free to give only fifty percent of the community assets. However, if you can prove that your father utilized his separate property monies ( which is a difficult hurdle to overcome) to set up his annuity, then you may be able to inherit the annuity.
On the other hand, if your father died intestate, (if there was no will), then the property passes in accordance with the California Intestate Statutes. that would mean that your mother would get it all, because there is a presumption that the monies used were community property and she already owns one half of it, the other half would pass by Intestate succession. I agree with the fine lawyers that told you to get legal counsel. This is a very tricky area of the law. Or better yet, let your mom have the money and avoid a nasty fight. Best of luck.
This answer is provided by Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 'El Abogado Hispano de California, and it is of a general context and is not intended to form an attorney client relationship. I am licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advise in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado Hispano Manuel A. Juarez, El abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Bancarrotas y Divorcios de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, y no forma una relacion de abogado y cliente. Soy licenciado solo en el Estado de California.