Dear Ms. Allison: My wife was listed as heir to an estate, but she has passed away. She also had no Will. Should the inheritance go to her spouse (me) and only child (by a previous marriage)? To just the spouse? Or just to her daughter? BR in Oklahoma
If you are saying that your wife (the beneficiary) survived the person whom she was to inherit from (the benefactor), then her share would go to probate and, generally, be split 50/50 between you and her daughter. If you are saying that she did not survive the person who left her money, then the document that made her an heir (the Will or Trust or other document) should say who is the beneficiary if your wife predeceased (died before) her benefactor.
If the issue is being debated and the value of the inheritance is significant, you can get yourself a beneficiary’s attorney to look out for your interests.
To your success, Gale Allison
*Originally published 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).