Whatare my daughter and I entitled too if my husband dies, ifhe andI have beenmarried for 14 years but separated for the last 4 of them?

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Whatare my daughter and I entitled too if my husband dies, ifhe andI have beenmarried for 14 years but separated for the last 4 of them?

My husband and I have been separated – not legally – for 4 years. My husband has 2 boys and 3 girls; they are all grown up in their 30’s and 40’s. My husband adopted my daughter before she was 18. She is currently 18. My daughter and I left my husband’s house because he is emotionally abusive and has become a hoarder. We have lived in separate houses for 4 years. What am I entitled to upon his death? The house is under both of our names. Am I entitled to his government retirement?

Asked on February 11, 2011 under Estate Planning, Oklahoma

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your situation.  I think it would be in your best interest to seek help from an attorney in your area that can sit and look at the whole picture here.  Property that is held jointly with rights of survivorship - like the house - will automatically pass to you upon his death.  Any insurance policies that have you as the beneficiary will pas to you outside of the estate being probated, also automatically upon filing the proper paperwork.  As for his retirement benefits, that is difficult to say here without looking in to the matter more fully and knowing the law in your state.  And I think you should anticipate a fight from his other children but if he dies without a will your daughter receives just like they do and you have your rights as well.  If he dies with a Will and leaves you out you have a right of election.  He could leave your daughter out and then he would have to contest the Wil. Seek help.  Good luck.


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