What are my late husband’s first family entitled to from his estate?

UPDATED: May 20, 2014

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What are my late husband’s first family entitled to from his estate?

My husband had 2 children (ages 14 and 25). To date, I have not given his children any of his personal belongings, which mainly consists of clothing, tools, knives and guns; he died about 5 months ago. His ex-wife has stated she was going to sue me because I have not given the children anything of their father’s. My husband did not have a will. Our home/mortgage and all other utility bills are in my name only. And of course the ex-wife gets social security benefits for her youngest child since his father passed away. Can she sue me for any of the belongings or my home (for monetary purposes) or is everything that belonged to my husband now my property?

Asked on May 20, 2014 under Estate Planning, Tennessee


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your husband.

Since your husband did not leave a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will. 

Under intestate succession, you, the surviving spouse inherit your husband's entire estate.  His ex-wife has no claim and has no basis for a lawsuit.

If you had not survived your husband, his estate would have been divided equally among his children.

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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