Is there a chance that my father’s wife will not be able to take anything from the estate?

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Is there a chance that my father’s wife will not be able to take anything from the estate?

My father passed away in July. He had a Will stating that his home is left to my brother and myself. My father was married when he was 19 and separated 6 months later. My father was 52 when he passed. I understand the whole “elective share” thing and that legally she is entitled to 1/3 but my father received the house from my grandfather in the amount of $1.00 in 2001. They weren’t together then and she has never lived here. Is there a chance that she could be denied a share of something that she doesn’t rightfully deserve? Me and my brother are sick over the fact that we could lose our home.

Asked on November 2, 2010 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Here is the thing: technically he "purchased" the house from your Grandmother with "marital" money and during the marriage.  Therefore, it could be considered marital property.  If he had inherited the property then as long as inheritance is kept separate and apart then it is not marital property and one can Will it any way one wishes.  If there is enough to pay her an elective share separate and apart from the house then you can use that as leverage.  otherwise, it may be in your best interest to discuss buying her out of the estate.  I would really seek help from an attorney in your area and ask about case law that may place this property outside the realm of marital property.  Good luck.


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