If my husband passed away and his ex-wife is now trying to claim his belongings because they had a Will that was written when they were still married, does she have any rights?

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If my husband passed away and his ex-wife is now trying to claim his belongings because they had a Will that was written when they were still married, does she have any rights?

The Will was never filed with the courts. He had nothing of value and left no life insurance, pensions, retirement plans, etc.

Asked on June 18, 2015 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Even if the will was not previously filed, it is valid--but must be probated; she can't simply take whatever she wants or feels she is entitled to, but rather the will must go through the probate process and assets be officially distributed to her. If the will named her by name and not as "my wife," she probably still is entitled to inherit under it, since by its plain terms, it is leaving things to her. But if she was identified as "my wife" should not inherit, since she is no longer that person (e.g. no longer his wife).


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