Estranged, not divorced–could she inherit?

Dear Ms. Allison: I am married but separated, even though it’s not a legal court separation. I guess we’re more like, estranged. Love him but can’t live with him, you know. My husband just inherited $750,000 from his aunt. He doesn’t have a Will, so when he dies would I inherit any or all of this? Debbie in Southern Oklahoma


Dear Debbie:

As long as you are married and had no prenuptial contract saying otherwise, you will inherit. The amount of your inheritance depends on what his other family relationships are.

Even if he has a Will, if you are married, he cannot disinherit you in Oklahoma. The only way a wife inherits her husband’s entire estate is if he has no parents, his parents had no other descendants and he has no descendants.

You should also keep in mind that he is going to inherit from you as well. If the two of you divorce or reconcile, it would be wise to visit your estate and probate lawyer to update your estate plan. If you don’t and there are other family to make claims, you could wind up in a lawsuit called estate litigation. If your separation is contentious (argumentative) the two of you may want to work with an impartial mediator.

To your success, Gale Allison

*Originally published in June 2017 in the Gale Allison, PLLC website Asked & Answered blog based on questions from the public. Gale Allison handles estate matters only: Probate, Estate or Trust Administration; Estate Litigation; Estate Planning; Business Succession Planning; and Estate-related Tax Issues at Schaffer Herring, PLLC, in Tulsa, OK. She also mediates Business, Divorce, Estate and Elder Care disputes nationally, exclusively through Dispute Resolution Consultants (DRC-OK).

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Gale Allison, JD, LLM, AEP®

Licensed since 1976

Member at firm Gale Allison, PLLC

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Gale Allison, JD, LLM, AEP®

Licensed since 1976

Member at firm Gale Allison, PLLC

AWARDS

AV Preeminent

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