In California, the property owned by a husband and wife is called community property. If one dies, then the surviving spouse inherits the deceased spouse's property if there is no will. If the decedent had a will, he or she can give one half of the property to whomever he wants, for example to his children instead of his wife. However, the surviving wife is allowed to keep her one half of the community and the husband may not give that property away in his will. Of course, the husband can given his property by will to his wife and after his death, his wife will own all of the community property. These same rules apply if the wife dies first and the husband survives her.