What rights does a long-term spouse have to a housethat their deceased spouse purchased prior to marriage?

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What rights does a long-term spouse have to a housethat their deceased spouse purchased prior to marriage?

My dad married his girlfriend 1 year after she bought a house; they were married for 38 years. They both passed, she in 2009 and my dad in 2010. However before he did, her kids changed the locks and locked him out. They say they have a Will but would never show my father. What rights did he have concerning the house and all the additions added on to the house; she never had a job when she married my father? And now what rights do I have concerning mt father’s portion of the house?

Asked on May 12, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If there was a will, it would pass as the will instructs...but only if there is a will. If the disposition off assets is contested, the alleged heirs will have to produce a will supporting their claim. If there was no will, your father, as spouse, would have inherited at least a partial interest in the house, even though she had children. And as your father's heir, you would then inherit his interest. Moreoever, since your farther would have inherited at least a partial interest in the home, he could not be locked out.

You should speak with a trust and estates attoreney, one who handles disputes over wills and the like. You may well have an interst in your father's home.


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