if a person is awaiting a settlement but passed away, who legally has a right to that settlement?

My spouse was awaiting an auto accident settlement. We were married but seperated. She passed away about 6 months ago. I found out her mother has taken over this. We also have 2 children who have sole custody of. Do we have a legal right to this? I feel her children should benefit from whatever money is awarded.

Asked on March 30, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

This settlement is now property of your wife's estate. As to who has the rights to her estate is dictated by the terms of your late wife's Will, if she had one. If not, then she died "intestate" (i.e. without a Will). Accordingly, state intestacy law determines how her estate should be disrtibuted after all of her debts are paid. Typically, that would be you as the surviving spouse (since you were only separated, not divorced) and your children. For the exact share that you and your children are entitled to, you can consult directly with a local probate who can best advise you further.


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