Can I sue my husband’s estate for underpaid monthly allotments?

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Can I sue my husband’s estate for underpaid monthly allotments?

I lived with my abusive husband for 23 years. We were legally separated almost 20 years ago but remained legally married. I have a chronic illness and it was agreed that my medical insurance would stay intact unless one of us wanted to remarry initiating a divorce. We have 2 sons. The terms of the separation filed with the court included my receiving 1/2 of his retirement pay monthly. Although he began paying it he did not increase my share as he recieved cost of living adjustments. He has been shorting me approximately $275 a month for the last 10 years. If I called him on it he said he would disenroll me from my medical insurance. The underpayment comes to about $30,000 over time. He died 5 days ago. His estate is worth about $150,000 $100,000 of that in cash in the bank. Can I sue his estate for the money he has refused to pay in accordance with the legal separation order?

Asked on January 31, 2012 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

This is not an easy question to give guidance on here with out first reading the agreement and your state law.  But my gut feeling is that you have a right to sue his estate as you would have hda right to sue him if he were still alive based upon contract theories. Now, there may be a statute of limitations problem for some of the years but that should not stop you from looking into it.  Good luck.


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