What are a surviving spouse’s rights if the were separated at time of the other spouse’s death?

My friend and his wife have been separated for about a year. She recently passed away and he was not notified until now. Her family made the arrangements and decided on where she would be buried. What, if any, rights does he have as surviving spouse?

Asked on February 27, 2012 under Estate Planning, Arkansas

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for his loss and for the issues that have resulted.  I am going to assume here that they were just physically separated with out any legal paperwork between them and that she died so he was still really married but living apart.  If that is the case then he remained her spouse until her death and he has all rights, duties and obligations of a surviving spouse.  He should speak with an attorney in the area on how to handle things.  Good luck.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.