My father was legally separated from his wife, does she have a claim to his possessions after his passing? 3 Answers as of February 27, 2011

My father died recently, and the information that I am finding tells me that he was legally separated from his wife at his time of death. Apparently they had been separated for about 3 years. The legal separation documents closely outline who got what out of their belongings. He bought out her portion of the home that they had shared, so the deed was solely in his name. Now that he has passed away, does she have any claim to the house or any of the belongings therein?

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Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
As a general rule, the determination of claims against each party's estate are also contained within the separation agreement as well as everything else and each usually waives any claim against the other's estate. Look for that clause and that may settle the problem. However, if not, it could surely be effectively argued that by him buying out his separated wife's share of the house, he had not intent and they had no intent of her getting any part of it upon his demise. Speak to an estate lawyer soon.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/27/2011
Arnold & Wadsworth
Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
The legal separation document or contract will be binding on the estate and you need to make sure that it is brought up and enforced.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 2/25/2011
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