Can I claim aninheritance of my ex-husband’s property?

UPDATED: Jul 28, 2011

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Can I claim aninheritance of my ex-husband’s property?

My ex-husband died recently leaving no Will. He has land, a mobile home and several automobiles. His bank account has his brother as his beneficiary. He had told his relatives that he wants everything sold and the money put into a trust fund for his grandchildren. He wanted to leave his children nothing. I am his first wife and we had 3 children; his second wife died 10 years ago and they had 1 child but he is not on her birth certificate and no DNAs been done to prove she is his. Can I inherit his property as a surviving ex-wife.

Asked on July 28, 2011 Alabama


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No you cannot inherit. In a situation wherein someone dies without a Will they die "intestate". This means that the laws of the state of their domicile will control. Typically, a surviving spouse (not ex-spouse) and the deceased's children will inherit. If there is no surviving spouse, then the children will equally divide the estate.

As to your ex's child with his second wife, since there is a question as to this child's paternity, your children as heirs could bring suit and request a DNA test (this assumes that there was no adoption; if so an adopted child is treated the same biological child for inheritance purposes).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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