Who has the legal right to inherit after a divorce?I was married for 20 years and we divorced in 2010.

I was married for 20 years and we divorced 2 years ago. I signed everything over to him although it was my money that paid for everything we owned. We got back together and spent the next two years living together in the home that we purchased with my money. He passed away 3 months ago without a Will. His son from a previous marriage has now came in and wants half of everything! Our 19 year old daughter is now having to fight her brother for the house and everything else. Do I have any legal rights in this matter?

Asked on November 11, 2012 under Estate Planning, Tennessee


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your ex-husband.

Since he did not leave a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.  Under intestate succession, if you had still been married at the time of his death, you would be the surviving spouse and would inherit the entire estate.  Since you were divorced, there isn't any surviving spouse.  Under intestate succession, when there isn't any surviving spouse, your ex-husband's entire estate will be divided equally among his surviving children.

You said at the time of your divorce that you had signed everything over to your ex-husband.  At that time, if you signed a quitclaim deed for the house, you gave up your entire right, title, and interest in the property.

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