Can I file as a surviving spouse against my husband’s estate if we haven’t lived together for 12 years?

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Can I file as a surviving spouse against my husband’s estate if we haven’t lived together for 12 years?

We never divorced, nor do we have a legal seperation. We were married in CA and he moved to AZ 5 years ago. He passed away 2 weeks ago leaving no Will. There are insurances, benefits, and personal belongings that my daughter should have. His sisters are detouring me anyway they can all the way down to not telling what mortuary he is at. I need to know if I can file as a surving spouse and child. How much time do I have, what to file, and where to file in AZ. His family calls me now for 2 weeks promising to do things for me, but have done nothing but turn me the wrong ways. I am living in CA.

Asked on November 29, 2010 under Estate Planning, Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for your situation. I would hire an attorney in Arizona as soon as you can and I would have the attorney file a Petition for Administration in the Probate Court naming you as the Administrator/Personal Representative of his estate as his surviving spouse.  Under the intestacy laws you and your daughter should inherit all of your husband's estate, unless the insurance policies name a different beneficiary under a designation of beneficiary form.  But even if they do, I would file an adverse claim to the proceeds as soon as possible and ask that the insurance company interplead the funds in to court.  Get help asap.  Good luck.


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