If my father is still married but has been separated from his wife for many years, do I have any rights as his child when he dies?

Meaning over his personnel things where to bury him, etc. I mean it’s like she will not divorce him. This has been in the courts for years. He is now 71 years old and she is 55. I just don’t understand why she wants to keep this tied up in the courts? He don’t work anymore. He has health problems.

Asked on September 22, 2012 under Estate Planning, Illinois


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your father should consult a lawyer in the state where he lives.  It does not have to be expensive to title his assets, name beneficiaries, and prepare a simple will to minimize interference from his estranged wife.  Many states, like Florida, give spouses an absolute right to inherit some portion of their spouse's estate.  However, there are some things that can be done for your father to dispose of his assets as he wishes.  I encourage you to help him consult with a lawyer.

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