Am I still entitled tomy husband’s estate if our divorce was not finalized before he died?

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Am I still entitled tomy husband’s estate if our divorce was not finalized before he died?

I filed for divorce from my husband. In the meantime, I re-married while the first divorce was still in process, not finalized (I realize now that means marriage #2 is considered void).  My second marriage ended up lasting for about 6 months and we also filed for divorce. Husband #1 has recently unexpectedly passed away. Husband#1 and I have 2 children together under age of 10. Am I still legally entitled to his estate?

Asked on July 14, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Fist you are correct that your second marriage is void under the law as you were not in a position legally to get married.  And a declaration that the second marriage is void may be all you need rather than actually filing for divorce but seek help from an attorney in the area about what to do procedurally there.  Now, as fr your right to inherit under the first marriage, that really would depend again on state law and if your late husband did any estate planning prior to his death.  If he did by setting up a trust for the benefit of the children or if your divorce agreement - which is a contract that was executed prior to his death and is still binding and enforceable by his estate - waived your rights to inherit, then you are out of luck.   A Will and beneficiary designations will also matter here.  But the children will definitely inherit. 


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