What are a newly married women’s rights when her husband dies and she is not in the Will?

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What are a newly married women’s rights when her husband dies and she is not in the Will?

My mother-in-law was recently married 4 months ago. Her husband recently had an accident and passed away. A friend of the deceased knows what is in the Will even though it has not been read yet. The Will was created before the marriage. He has basically kicked her out of the house, removed the contents and changed the locks.

Asked on March 31, 2012 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

Patricia F. Bushman / Bushman & DuBose, LLC

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In  Texas, she has rights, both her community property rights and her widow's rights.  The "friend" has no rights until he is approved by the Court.  He cannot take possession of any property.  Your mother-in-law should get a local probate lawyer to protect her rights immediately.

Steven Fromm / Steven J Fromm & Associates, P.C.

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

She has a statutory right to 1/3 of the estate.  If the will has not been probated the friend even if named executor has no right to do anything.  Get estate counsel immediately.

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for her loss and for the problems that have resulted.  The "friend" had no right to do as he did.  Pennsylvannia allows for a wife to "elect" against a Will, meaning that by law she has a right to one third of the estate of her spouse.  So if she is not mentioned in the Will she can "elect" against it.  She needs to hire an attorney as soon as she can.  I am going to give you a link to the PA statute just so you know.  Good luck.

https://law.onecle.com/pennsylvania/decedents-estates-and-fiduciaries/00.022.003.000.html


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