What to expect as far as benefits/inheritance when the father of your children dies?

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What to expect as far as benefits/inheritance when the father of your children dies?

My ex is about to die from liver damage; he is in hospice now. He was on permanent disability for a accident years ago and before that was in a union. I have his children ages 18 and 16. He has no money from what I’ve heard but he has a house that is paid off. Also, I  have been receiving child support and SS for my children. However, I’ve heard that when he passes all of that will stop. I’m not sure if he has a Will. What can I expect the children and I to receive, if anything?

Asked on August 26, 2010 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should consult with an attorney to look into this thoroughly for you. The short answer is that if your ex-spouse did not remarry, then his children should receive everything--i.e. all the money or assets in the estate, less valid claims or debts against the estate and also some administrative, etc. costs. If he did have a spouse at the time he passed away, that spouse and the children will split the estate, though the exact fashion in NJ gets a bit complicated. You yourself would appear to not be entitled to a share of the estate (though note: if you were the beneficiary on any insurance policies and that was never changed, you might collect.) An attorney can help you understand exactly how much your children will receive, and also whether there might be any public benefits (e.g. SS Survivor's Benefits) for which they may be eligible. Good luck.


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