What does the state do for a wife that are married but are not included in the husband’s Will? 21 Answers as of April 15, 2014

My mom has been with this man 25 years plus. They got married in 2005. The Will has his son being left everything and a trust with his sons name and a friend’s name. What rights does my mom have to anything? They have lived in the same house for 20 years, her name is not on the home but she has contributed to the household since day one. Need some advance to protect my mother.

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Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
In California, you can not will away more than your half of the community property that being all of the property accumulated during the marriage. There may also be some quasi marital property due to the length of time the couple has been together. You should consult a probate attorney who is familiar with family law concepts to review all of the facts and advise you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/15/2014
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
In Nevada a spouse can take some property outside the will. She also would own her community property share of the assets. The will may not be valid depending upon when it was signed.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/15/2014
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
More facts are needed. Her rights may only begin to accumulate after 2005 in Nevada. However, many more facts are needed. Please meet with an attorney to address specifics. If he acquired all assets before marriage her rights may be very limited. This information is only intended to give general information in response to an inquiry. It does not establish an attorney client relationship. This response is only based upon the limited facts presented and is merely intended to assist you in determining if you should contact an attorney to provide you with legal advice.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/15/2014
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
In Maryland, the surviving spouse may be entitled to her statutory "elective share" even if the spouse is not included in the decedent's will. She may have "rights" to her husband's property if she makes a timely election to her share as a surviving spouse.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 4/15/2014
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
Please see a probate lawyer. The issue will be whether the property is separate or community (or mixed).
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/14/2014
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    Your mother should contact a probate attorney immediately to discuss what options are available to her in this matter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    She needs to obtain the services of a probate attorney to make a community property claim to her one half of the estate, immediately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    Law Office of Nathan Wagner
    Law Office of Nathan Wagner | Nathan J. Wagner
    Your mom should talk to a local probate lawyer right away. She should be able to claim a portion of her husband's estate. In California, this is called a spousal election.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    Your mother has a number of rights, or at least potential rights. It all depends on how the assets are titled. It is not possible for someone to disinherit a spouse by Will. (The State of Michigan gives a spouse the right to "elect against" a Will. The same is not true with a trust. If the property is titled in the trust, your mother may not have much she can do. She needs to review all of the facts of the situation with an estate planning attorney to determine how best to proceed. It sounds like her husband may have already done HIS estate planning. Whether he took care of her or not is not clear.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    I think you meant that you need some advice, not advance. If your mother is not mentioned in the will, she gets all community property, if any, and one-third of the rest.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    As far as the will is concerned, the state will not and cannot do anything about how a person wants his assets distributed upon their death. Once the husband passes away and has left the will as it is now, your mom can requisition the trust (assuming the house is in the trust) for contributions made to the household. Of course you will have to show proof of the contributions, i.e, receipts, invoices, etc. Or she can encourage him to change his will so that she is included.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If the will is not changed, then your mother will need to petition the court for her "spousal elective share." Given the length of the marriage, she will be entitled to one-third of her husband's estate.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    R. Steven Chambers PLLC | R. Steven Chambers PLLC
    She needs to speak with an attorney regarding the "spouse's elective share" under Utah law. There is some protection given for a legal spouse that is excluded from a will.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    If there is a valid will, the terms of the will determines who inherits what. However, many state statutes allow for a very small portion to be diverted to the surviving spouse.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    There are effective ways by which a husband can effectively disinherit his wife by titling property in certain manners. I would suggest that you have an attorney look into this before it becomes too late to change.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    I believe in Idaho, she would be entitled to $60.000 from the estate. This is really dependent on state law so she needs to talk with a local probate attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    If there was a prenuptial agreement, the terms of the prenuptial agreement must be followed. The spouse has rights of renunciation of the Will. If there are children then the Wife is entitled to one third of the probate estate under the right of renunciation. The assets in the trust or those that pass outside of probate are not subject to the right of renunciation. The spouse also has a spousal support claim that can be filed against the probate estate. If an asset passes through probate before going to the trust then it would be subject to renunciation and the spousal claim prior to distribution to the trust. Examine the terms of the Trust. The Trust may provide the spouse with income and a right to live in the marital home even if the ownership will ultimately go to the decedent's children.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    Morrin Law Office
    Morrin Law Office | Robert A. Morrin
    Your mother needs to retain a probate attorney to 1) exercise her right to an elective share of the estate (1/3) and 2) to explore any claim of interest regarding the house she contributed to. She has 6 months from the time the will is submitted to probate to exercise her elective share right. I suggest you take her to a probate attorney as soon as possible to avoid any time restrictions that would prevent her from taking anything.
    Answer Applies to: Kentucky
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    See an attorney ASAP. If the will and trust were before the marriage, her rights are greater. If after the marriage, she has a community property interest in the assets back to 2005. You need an attorney for this, it is complicated and very time sensitive.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    C Page Hamrick Attorney at Law | C Page Hamrick
    FOR WEST VIRGINIA ONLY: A spouse who is excluded from taking under a will, where the decedent died a resident of West Virginia, may elect to take her statutory share by filing to take against the will, which is filed with the probate supervisor's office. She really needs to see an attorney about this complicated matter.
    Answer Applies to: West Virginia
    Replied: 4/14/2014
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    She has homestead and other rights but needs to hire a gold lawyer to establish those rights in court immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/14/2014
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