If my recently deceased father-in-law left my late husband anything, does that go to me because I’m his wife or his blood next of kin?

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If my recently deceased father-in-law left my late husband anything, does that go to me because I’m his wife or his blood next of kin?

My husband passed away 5 months ago. His father (my father-in-law) passed away on Sunday.

Asked on November 13, 2012 under Estate Planning, District of Columbia

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

How all of this property passes depends on the wording of the wills.  If there are no wills, it depends on the statute of descent and distribution in the state of death.

Usually, a beneficiary must be alive on the date of death in order to inherit.  Since your husband passed 5 months before his father, he would not inherit.  If you husband does not inherit, then you cannot inherit through him.

Most wills provide that if a beneficiary passes before the testator, that beneficiary's share will be distributed to someone else.  It can say it will be distributed to the beneficiary's "heirs," in which case, you would receive the share.  It can say it will be distributed to the beneficiary's "descendants," which usually does not include a spouse.  It could say it will pass to the spouse.  The bottom line is you need to see the will in order to know if you will receive anything.


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