What happens if a husband never removed their first wife as beneficiary of their Will?

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What happens if a husband never removed their first wife as beneficiary of their Will?

My new husband had a Will giving his first (now deceased) wife everything and his son was named as administrator of the estate. Is the old Will still valid since my husband outlived her?

Asked on July 11, 2011 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Just as a point of reference, a fiduciary named in a Will is known as an Executor of an Estate.  An Administrator is one who is appointed when there is no Will.  So your step son is the Executor.  The Last Will that is written bythe testator (your husband) is the Will that is considered to be valid and will be offered for probate to the Surrogate's Court in New York.  You, as his Wife, even though not named, have what is known as a Right of Election under the law to his estate that did not automatically go to you through joint ownership when he passed (joint accounts, property with rights of survivorship, etc.).  You are entitled to the greater of wither $50,000 or one-third of the net estate. You need to "elect" within 6 months from the date of issuance of Letters Testamentary to your step son as the Executor but no later than 2 years after the date of death of your husband.  Good luck to you.


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