My husband died while we separated with no will, what will happen to his estate? 24 Answers as of November 01, 2013

My husband died and we had been separated but not divorced for over 10 years. He had no will and we have one child who is only 16. We were married only 5 years before the separation.

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Law Office of Thomas C. Phipps | Thomas C Phipps
You receive the first twenty thousand dollars of property. The remainder is split one half to you and one half to any children.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 11/1/2013
Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
Was the separation a legal separation, that is, was there an action filed in court? If there was no legal action filed and you simply lived apart an estate should be opened in the Probate Division of the Circuit Court for the county that your husband was living in at the time of his death. The estate would be divided among the heirs at law which, generally would be the surviving spouse (you) and the living children and the descendants of any child who had died prior to your husband.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 10/2/2013
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
The estate will go to his son, or be split between you and his son depending on the intestacy laws of the state where he resided.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/18/2013
Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
Since you were still legally married, you and your daughter would inherit his estate under the provisions of the Ohio revised code for intestate succession. Those provisions determine the amount that each will inherit.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 9/17/2013
Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
It depends on what his estate consists of. If there was property that you purchased together, it will become yours. For any property or money earned after the separation, it will go to his children, equally. You should consider scheduling an appointment with a local probate attorney to discuss what needs to be done to transfer the property.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/13/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If you are still legally married, and he has no children other than the child you had together, then you are entitled to all of his estate. (Oregon answer). You may feel the equities are otherwise; if you give estate property to someone else, you will be making gifts that may be reportable to the IRS. You may also want to simply administer the estate, and then apply the assets for your child's benefit.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    You are still legally his spouse and entitled to whatever portion of his assets your state's intestacy laws permit a surviving spouse to receive. Your daughter and any other of your late husband's children who still surviving may also be heirs.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    It depends on several factors including whether he had any other children, and if he accumulated property after the separation. You will be entitled to something as will likely your 16 year old son, but you need to discuss all of the particulars with a probate attorney to determine the extent of what everyone will get.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law | Martin Barnes
    Good question. If there was no will then the probate portion of his estate will be distributed according to Indiana Intestacy Statutes. If you are legally married you may be entitled to a portion of that distribution. Your daughter may also be entitled to a portion of that distribution. I encourage you to discuss your rights with an Indiana attorney. Disclaimer: The response above does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    The Law Offices of Juliet Gavriel
    The Law Offices of Juliet Gavriel | Juliet Gavriel
    If there was no formal separation agreement, as a wife, you and your mutual child with your deceased husband will be beneficiaries of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    The Krone Law Firm, LLC | Norman B. Krone
    You and your son are entitled to the estate unless he had other children.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
    Whatever property might be in his estate will be distributed by the rules of intestate descent. Because you were never divorced you are still his spouse and would be entitled to an intestate share allowed for surviving spouses unless the separation could be considered an abandonment of the marriage by yourself, an action that would have to be brought by a guardian ad litem on behalf of your 16 year old son. You would be entitled to the first $35,000.00 of property in his estate and 50% of the balance. Your 16 year old son would receive the balance under a minor's trust, subject to being distributed to him when he attains the age of majority.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    Most likely all the estate will go to the son. See an attorney to probate the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    You get any community property. The rest goes half to you and half to your son (assuming he's the only child).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Pia Anderson Dorius Reynard & Moss | Jason Hunter
    You may still have an interest in his estate (as his surviving spouse), as does your child. That might be the case even if he tried to cut you out through beneficiary designations (and even if he tried to cut you out by will), unless you waived all your spousal rights. You should gather information about your husband's estate and consult with an attorney to investigate your rights immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Since you still are the spouse, in Washington, you get the entire estate.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    It should go to you.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    In Maryland, unless there might be applicable language in a separation agreement, his probate assets should pass to you (1/2) and your minor child (1/2) under the intestacy (no will) rules. Before the probate assets are divided, the surviving spouse (you) may receive $5,000 for personal use, and the surviving minor child (your son) may receive $2,500 for personal use (effective until October 1, 2013).
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    There is a Michigan statute which provides that if you are willfully absent from the marriage for more than 1 year, you can be treated as being pre-deceased. Whether or not your child will challenge you on this, I do not know. In the absence of someone who will do so, you would be the primary heir and your daughter, secondary. You should have an attorney assist you with probating this estate.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    Did your legal separation agreement address death? If there was no agreement or if it did not, then in Nevada you would be entitled to receive 100% of community property and 50% of his separate property. Your daughter would receive the other 50%. An estate will need to be opened and assuming you are a resident of Nevada you may be appointed to serve as the Estate's personal representative/administratrix. Monies for your daughter may need to be placed under guardianship as she is under the age of 18. I urge you seek out counsel to assist you. Best of luck in your endeavors.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Law Offices of R. Christine Brown | R. Christine Brown
    Someone will have to open a probate (file a Petition for Probate). If your 16 y.o. son is your husband's only child, then he will be the sole heir of the estate, unless your husband's estate contains some community property to which you may have a claim. Depending on the size of his estate and the type of assets in his estate, you may also have to get a guardianship over your son's "estate" (merely being his mother is not sufficient), so that his inheritance can be managed by you. If your husband's probate estate closes and your son is under 18, the probate court cannot distribute an estate to a minor directly, he must have a court appointed guardian. You would hold on to his inheritance until his 18th birthday at which time you would have to petition to terminate the guardianship so you could distribute the inheritance to your son.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Obtain yourself probate counsel to file a petition into probate of your husband's estate and to get you appointed as guardian ad litem for your daughter who appears to be the person to receive his estate, for the purpose of managing the estate on behalf of your daughter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    Because you were still married to him, you will receive the first $60,000 plus one half of the balance. Your child will receive the other half.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/12/2013
    Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch | Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
    As long as you didn't divorce, you are married for purposes of probate law. His estate (assets in his sole name w/no named beneficiary) would pass 1/2 to you and 1/2 to his child(ren). His 16 y/o's share would have to be held by a guardian until he has 18. You probably will need to open up a probate estate, unless his estate is very small. Talk to a probate attorney in the country where he lived.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/12/2013
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