What right does my grandma have if she married a man and his Will was in his deceased wife’s name?

UPDATED: Oct 12, 2011

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What right does my grandma have if she married a man and his Will was in his deceased wife’s name?

They were married for 10 years when he died. Her husband had children and they are basically trying to throw her into the streets now and give her nothing. They house was already owned by her husband when she married him. They are trying to take all the furniture to sell. What can my grandma do?

Asked on October 12, 2011 under Estate Planning, Illinois


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am having a hard time understanding your question. If you grandmother was married to a man who passed away without naming your grandmother in his Will (and they were married for ten years) and the house that she was living in was already owned free and clear when they married, your grandmother does not have much of a say as to any assets of her last husband.

The reason is that under one's Will, a person is free to give his or her assets away to anyone even to the exclusion of his or her spouse provided that the surviving spouse does not have a marital ownership interest in them.

If your grandmother assisted in the purchase of certain assets with her own money or monet generated during her marriage to her last husband, then she may have an ownerhip right to that item preventing its transfer to a third person at least to her one-half ownership interest.

Your grandmother should consult with a Wills and Trust attorney over her situation.

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