if a person is awaiting a settlement but passed away, who legally has a right to that settlement?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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if a person is awaiting a settlement but passed away, who legally has a right to that settlement?

My spouse was awaiting an auto accident settlement. We were married but seperated. She passed away about 6 months ago. I found out her mother has taken over this. We also have 2 children who have sole custody of. Do we have a legal right to this? I feel her children should benefit from whatever money is awarded.

Asked on March 30, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

This settlement is now property of your wife's estate. As to who has the rights to her estate is dictated by the terms of your late wife's Will, if she had one. If not, then she died "intestate" (i.e. without a Will). Accordingly, state intestacy law determines how her estate should be disrtibuted after all of her debts are paid. Typically, that would be you as the surviving spouse (since you were only separated, not divorced) and your children. For the exact share that you and your children are entitled to, you can consult directly with a local probate who can best advise you further.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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