If you have a Will and your spouse dies, do you get the items left?

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If you have a Will and your spouse dies, do you get the items left?

The Will states that some things go to other people but that is if they both die.

Asked on November 7, 2018 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You follow the terms of the will, assuming it was properly signed and witnessed. If the will does NOT apply to the current situation (e.g. it only, as you write, applies if both spouses pass away), then to the extent the will does not control, you would look to your state's laws on "intestate succession"--the rules for who gets what when there is no will. In your state (WA), that means that if there are no children of the deceased, the spouse gets everything (or everything not disposed of by the will); if there children, the spouse gets all the "community property" (to oversimplify: everything acquired during marriage, other than an inheritance or gift to only one spouse) and 1/2 the deceased spouse's "separate property" (what he/she had pre-marriage, and anything gifted to or inherited by only him/her during marriage); the children get the other 1/2 of separate property.


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