If my husband dies and the will he made before we met leaves his estate to his daughter am I entitled to anything we acquired? 34 Answers as of June 27, 2013

I just want to know if I am entitled to anything we acquired after we married like my car or our house and personal belongings like my furniture and kitchen wears.

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Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
Under Missouri law, a widow is entitled to elect to take against the will - this means that in a case such as yours (left out of husband's will because he never updated it after you married) you would be entitled to one-third of the estate (since there was a child).This election must be made rather quickly after the spouse dies (six months).
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 9/29/2012
Martinson & Beason, PC
Martinson & Beason, PC | Douglas C Martinson II
You would be considered an Omitted Spouse and entitled to half the estate unless you had a Prenuptial Agreement. If he later executes a will leaving it to his daughter, you would be entitled to an elective share or 1/3 of his estate. You would have to file for those shares.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 9/25/2012
Blough Law Office | Janis L. Blough
You should speak to an experienced estate attorney. There is a widow's portion that comes off the top of his estate, and anything you brought into the marriage (that you owned before) should be your separate property. Also, any gifts you received from him or anyone else is your separate property. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/25/2012
Law Offices of Pamela R. Lawson | Pamela R. Lawson, Esq.
The assets he had before marriage were and are generally his separate property. Assuming you do not have a prenuptial agreement, your community property share of each assets is 50% and he cannot give it away to his daughter, only his $50%. Anything that was your before the marriage is generally still yours. The title to your house is important, if it is in joint tenancy with right of survivorship, it's yours - same with the car. You are entitled to keep any gifts he gave you, even the car if it was a gift. The particulars of your situation may or may not change my general opinion, the language of the Will is import.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/25/2012
The Taylor Law Office L.L.C.
The Taylor Law Office L.L.C. | Ian A. Taylor
After death, anything held jointly will automatically in full go to the joint property holder. Without a will, a spouse is entitled to half of the estate and the other half to the kids. The probate court filings can help to determine the total amount in the estate in addition to defining each heir's share to the property. If there is an issue as to whether you and your sister will have a disagreement, I recommend not only a formal probate, but to contact a local attorney to determine whether there are other options with your specific information that may require special attention by the court with the help of an attorney.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 9/25/2012
    Richard E. Damon, PC | Richard E. Damon
    Yes. Your marriage invalidates the will that was in existence when you met. Thus there is no will. Under California law, the surviving spouse, where there is one child, receives one-half the estate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/27/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Yes as his spouse you have rights. The specifics depend on certain facts not included in your post, but you should secure counsel ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/27/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    I think it is time you and your husband drafted new estate planning documents. It sounds like a trust would be beneficial to the both of you. The benefit to you both is that you will know what will happen should one of you die and you will be able to avoid probate. As to your question, the items purchased together are presumptively community property and you have a 1/2 interest in them.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    You are entitled to one half of the after marriage acquired community property, one half of the quasi community property, and one half of the separate property of deceased, the total not being received greater than one half of the separate property of the deceased, assuming no pre marriage agreement was entered into, dividing the property differently between the two of you. If you purchased the house after marriage and is in joint tenancy title, then upon his death you will survive to his interest and be the sole owner.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry | Charles R. Perry
    Yes, you are entitled to a part of your husband's estate. The legal term is that you are a "pretermitted spouse," which means you were not mentioned in your husband's will. You will need to consult with a probate lawyer to understand your full rights of inheritance. With luck, you will not have much of a fight with your stepdaughter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    In most states, the widow or widower is entitled to a percentage of the estate along with whatever she or he brought into the marriage, personally inherited during the marriage, or, if the parties kept their finances completely separated, whatever he or she purchased for his or her own use with his or her own money. However, if your husband has had time to execute another will since your marriage, some courts may decide that he deliberate excluded you as a beneficiary.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    You are entitled to a number of statutory benefits before the wishes dictated in his will become effective. In addition, if you choose to take a spousal share of the augmented estate, you may do so regardless of the wording of his will. The details are quite involved and are beyond the scope of this answer. You could probably end up with all of the items you list in your question.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    The Children's Law Group | Tamara Chin
    Yes. Your husband's estate is one half of the community estate. So the daughter would receive one half of what you owe together.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
    Yes you are entitled to your share based on intestacy law. The best bet is to have him re do his will otherwise things could get ugly and expensive. Court fights are rarely easy or inexpensive.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    Law Offices of Michael N. Stafford | Michael N. Stafford
    If the will pre-dates your marriage you are entitled to all of the community property you acquired and a portion of your husband's separate property. You should consult with an attorney to determine your rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Lisa L. Hogreve, LC | Lisa L. Hogreve
    Even though your husband's will states that his daughter is entitled to inherit his entire estate, you are what is termed a pretermitted spouse, entitled to a spouse's share of the estate. As a surviving spouse, you are entitled to a portion of the estate, certain real and personal property that is termed "exempt property," which includes, among other things, up to two family vehicles and household furniture, appliances and furnishings(up to $20,000.00 in value), and what is known as a family allowance. Depending on how the homestead was titled prior to your husband's death, you either own it upon his death, or have a life estate in the property.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    Under Nevada law you have a claim as a pretermitted spouse.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/27/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    The answer to your question depends on a great number of things, the biggest one being how your assets are titled. If everything is titled in joint names, then it would automatically pass to you, upon your husband's death, and the Will would not affect any assets. A will controls only assets titled in the name of the decedent, alone. Assets with joint owners or beneficiary designations pass outside probate and by-pass the terms of a Will. Michigan law also has protections built in so that, even if all of the assets were titled in your husband's name alone, you would still be able to "elect to take against the Will," and would thereby be entitled to a share of the estate. The amount you would be entitled to is generally half of what you would otherwise be entitled to under Michigan's intestate law, (what you would get if there was no Will), reduced by half of what you otherwise receive as a result of the death. This can be a very complicated calculation, but the bottom line is that, you would not be shut out. If the two of you intend a different distribution than that described above, you should meet with an estate planning attorney to get it set up properly.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    The wills in Georgia need to be redone if a divorce, marriage or birth or adoption of a child occurs. It could be that the old last will & testament should be reviewed and in most cases changed after a divorce. A spouse has the right to at least one year of maintenance and support. I would recommend that he redo his estate plan and get up-to-date documents. Your financial plan is not complete until it is coordinated with your estate plan. Will your family be provided for when you are gone? Without a will, the court will decide.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston | Edwin Fee
    Assets that you own jointly with your husband will pass to you outside his will. If you had a child with your husband, then the prior will is revoked. If the prior will isn't revoked, then you may elect against the will to obtain a portion of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    If the car is titled in your name, it's yours. If the house was titled as tenants by the entirety, then it's yours, along with all household items (furniture and kitchen wares). You are also entitled to a spousal share/allowance from his estate.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Yes, generally there is a widow's election. You should see an attorney, your rights may be for significantly more than just what was acquired during the marriage.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    Yes, you would be entitled to all of the community property accumulated during your marriage. Everyone should update their estate plan when they marry, particularly when they have children from a prior relationship.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Washington is a community property state, hence, you own one-half of the community property. Also, you are the forgotten spouse, hence, you have further rights to the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    GOLD & ASSOCIATES, P.C.
    GOLD & ASSOCIATES, P.C. | KENNETH GOLD
    It really depends how the assets are held and you may be entitled to some other allowances. But it is just best that he revise his will if he wishes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Law Office of Russell M. Blood, P.C. | Russell M. Blood
    The answer depends on how things are titled. If your car and/or your home are titled solely in your name, or if they are titled jointly with your husband, then they should be yours when he dies. The title controls? Not the will. If they are titled solely in your husband’s name, the will would control. However, you should still be entitled to a statutory share of his estate that may be as much as one-third. The statutory formula for calculating the share you’d be entitled to is quite complex, but worth pursuing if everything is in his name. Household goods may be a bit more complicated unless there is paperwork identifying the intended owner. If your husband is still living and is mentally competent, the simplest thing to do would be to have him sign new estate planning documents that reflect his current intent and/or re-titling the assets as intended.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Olson Law Firm | Edward M Olson
    The short answer is "yes". You have the right to receive some property. The specific kind and amount will depend on everything else going on. You need to call an attorney right away to protect your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    Yes. If you are not mentioned in his will, and it pre-dates your marriage, you would get all of the community property AND a third of his separate property. So, if something was bought with money earned during your marriage, it's community property, and you get it. If it was purchased with money he owned prior to your marriage, then it probably is his separate property, and you get a third. This assumes you have no written agreement, and no title documents are relevant. With your car, how title is held probably is important. That is even more true with your home: What does the deed say? For example, if you and he hold it "as husband and wife as community property with right of survivorship", then it comes to you. Similarly, joint bank accounts would be yours too.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire | Neal M. Rimer
    He should re-do his Will. Your husband can give away his separate property and his 1/2 of the community property acquired during marriage. You are entitled to your 1/2 of the community property acquired during marriage. The Will only acts on property that is in a decedent's name. If there are joint tenancy properties, then the surviving joint tenant will be the sole owner of that property. With the house, you need to look at how title is held. The same is true on bank accounts. They could all be in joint tenancy. It is best to work with an attorney who is willing to go through all this detail and sort things out. Then a new will would seem appropriate and perhaps other documents like a trust and a durable power of attorney for health care.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq.
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq. | Neil J. Lehto
    There is a potential for a disastrous and costly legal dispute between you and your step-daughter depending on the value of your husband's estate, the beneficiary designation of any retirement and life insurance he may have and the title ownership of the house because while you can elect against the will for part of his estate, proving what was jointly acquired and what you separately own is fraught with possible argument. He and you should get new wills.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Skillern Law Firm
    Skillern Law Firm | Penni Skillern
    Oklahoma has a "spousal share," meaning a spouse cannot be disinherited from their marital property. Depending on if it is a second marriage, or if you have been married for a very long time, the spousal share if different. You should contact an attorney to discuss what your spousal share is, based on your situation, and fight for your rights to benefit from your husband's estate.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC | Darin Christensen
    In Oregon, your marriage revokes his will unless it was adopted in contemplation of marriage. You then would be entitled to half of his assets. If his will was adopted in contemplation of marriage, the will would be valid, but you would have the right to take a percentage of the value of your and his combined assets (the elective share). The percentage (up to 33%) depends on the length of your marriage.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/27/2013
    McCleary & Associates, PC
    McCleary & Associates, PC | David M. McCleary
    Yes but it will be more complicated you and your husband should do a new estate plan that is up to date.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/27/2013
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