Does the wife of a deceased heir have legal right to his fathers estate? She is named in the will and the father lived in Indiana

I am the wife of a man that passed in 2012. His father passed recently and I was
named in the will to qualify for the inheritance in his place. He had two surviving
children from a previous marriage that he had very little contact with. The lawyer
in Indiana says they have the legal right to the money and not me. Is this correct?

Asked on December 26, 2017 under Estate Planning, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If there was no will, then you would have no right to any part of the estate: former in-laws do not inherit when there is no will. However, you write that there was  a will and it stated that you would inherit if your spouse died--in that case, you will inherit whatever the will gives you. Wills do not depend on relationship--they are based on their terms. If will leaves something to you, you are entitled to that. If the estate will not honor the terms of the will and pay you what you are entitled to, you can file a challenge to the will in probate court to get what the will says you should. Will challenges can be very "technical" and difficult for laypersons (non-lawyers); if you wish to explore this option, you are advised to retain an attorney.

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