What are a wife’s rights to her deceased husband’s assets?

UPDATED: Nov 27, 2013

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What are a wife’s rights to her deceased husband’s assets?

My father remarried 5 months ago. He owns his house on the beach and it is in a Trust for my brother and I; he holds 50%, my brother has 25% and I have 25%. My dad and his new wife spend 6 months there and 6 months in another state at her house. What rights, if any, does she have on the beach house if he were to pass? What about his assets? What rights does she have in general?

Asked on November 27, 2013 under Estate Planning, Georgia


Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The answer will depend on many things including when the beach house was purchased (before or after the marriage), how it is titled, whether your father has a will, and if not, your state's law of intestacy.  If your dad, brother and you purchased the house before the remarriage, there should be no problem.  But to be safe your father should spell out in a will how he wants everything divided upon his passing and possibly a living trust.  If your father wants to ensure that the house goes to you and your brother, it should be titled as joint tenants with rights of survivorship.  You say the house is "in a Trust" so that may accomplish the same thing if you and your brother are the beneficiaries.

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