The answer to your question is not easy. California is a community property state which mean community of property community of debt. That said, his debt is not automatically yours, timing and circumstances need to be reviewed. In addition, without beneficiary designations, you are only entitled to 1/2 of his separate, 100% of community property. If he has more than one child then you are only entitled to 1/3 of community property.
As to his debts, whether community or separate property, there are statutory ways to deal with them in property.
I would suggest you meet with a local probate attorney and discuss the best options for you.
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Mr. Shultz has provided you with excellent information. Please sit down with an attorney to go over your specific situation. Personal and specific advise will be of great value to you.
You really will need to sit down with a probate attorney who can ask you various questions to help determine whether probate is necessary and whether you'll need to pay any of the credit card debts.
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Unless you held any assets as joint tenancy, then yes will need to go through probate. If there are any community assets, then the probate would need to determine if you get them or if his share of the community estate would need to be passed to his children or heirs.
I agree with my colleagues. I would simply point out that the boat loan is very likely secured by the boat itself. As with a mortgage, even if you are not responsible for the loan, because it is a secured debt, if it is not paid, the security can be lost.
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