Who inherits a father’s estate if he was legally separated?

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Who inherits a father’s estate if he was legally separated?

MY BROTHER WAS LEGALLY SEPARATED FROM HIS WIFE. THE PROPERTY WAS DIVIDED. HE DIED. DOES HIS DAUGHTER HAVE RIGHTS TO HIS ESTATE?

Asked on January 8, 2011 under Estate Planning, West Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss. It is my understanding that a legal separation in West Virginia is also known as a "limited divorce."  There is an agreement, in writing, that decides certain issues between the parties: debts, property, child support and custody, alimony.  But the original marriage remains in tact and legal.  Your niece will have rights to her Father's estate no matter what.  What is included in the estate and how the assets are held will determine what amount she will receive. If he died without a Will then the intestacy laws in the state will govern the distribution of the estate assets.  I think that it would be best for you to seek the help of an attorney in your area and bring the agreement with you. Good luck.


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