I f I’m Canadian and was married to an American who just recently passed, what are my and my son’s rights to his estate?

We have a minor child between us and have been living apart (nothing legally). He didn’t have a Will and neglected to add us to his pensions. How would I go about notifying them about us (my son and myself) and what other things should I be made aware of (social security, rights, bills that maybe left etc…)? Who is his legal trustee (I think that that is what they are called).

Asked on August 14, 2014 under Estate Planning, Kansas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss. I am not sure what state you are living in but you listed Kansas here so I am going with that. If you were legally married at the time of his death and you have a child and he died intestate (with out a Will), then under the Kansas intestacy laws.  Under those laws you inherit 1/2 of the intestate property and your son the other half. The issue with the pensions really deal with taxation, as since there was not a designated beneficiary (I am assuming that) it will go in to the intestate estate pot and tax will be paid on the estate based upon that. Both you and your son are entitled to social security benefits (they are called survivor benefits) and here is a link:


When you say "legal trustee" I think you mean the Administrator or Personal Representative of the estate.  You should Petition the court to be appointed.  You would have priority.  Seek legal help and the attorney will help with probate and creditors. Good luck.


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