How to determine what my children are entitled to after their father’s death?

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How to determine what my children are entitled to after their father’s death?

I have 2 daughters in college age 21 and 19. I was divorced 26 years ago. My ex-husband remarried. He recently died and I am not sure if there was a Will or what my children may or may not be entitled to.

Asked on February 9, 2017 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First of all, if there is a Will, then your children could have been disinherited. If there was a Will and they were named as beneficiaries, then the executor will notify them of this. Also, once the Will, if any, is entered into probate it becomes a matter of public record so anyone can get a copy. If, however, your ex-husband died without a Will, then your children would be his heirs and entitled to share of his estate. Typically, it would be divided between the surviving spouse, if any, and all of the deceased's children (in what exact shares is determined by applicable state law). Just be aware that assets such as 401k's, life insurance proceeds, IRS's, etc., that list its own beneficiary are payable directly to that beneficiary, so they by-pass probate since they are not considered to be assets of an estate. 


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