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Dying without a will

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  • Dying without a will

    I will try to stick to relative info here. My ex-husband died in 2020 without a will. When we married he adopted my son from a previous relationship. We then had a son together. We divorced a few years later and my ex then remarried someone who had 2 children from a previous marriage. He then had a child with his new wife. New wife has told my youngest she has invested money for him. He also mentioned funds that could be available for my oldest. My oldest has not spoken with her.
    My sons both have spouses and children of their own. I’m concerned my youngest has trusted her with what she has told him. I think she may have given him some money to gain his trust. I was going to suggest to my oldest that he get advice from a lawyer. I thought I would ask for advice here first before anyone stirs up the pot.
    I’m concerned that she has handled his affairs and everything is now in her name and when she passes it will all go to her 3 children.

  • #2
    To start, unless there is child support owed then your kids are not entitled to anything he owned including if he didn't have a will. Not to mention, you don't know if he died without a will. He could have had one and you weren't given that info. You and your kids are not entitled to it. It might be public record though, someone else can share that if they know. I believe that info is only public if it goes to probate but I'm not a lawyer.

    There are some other details that complicate this. If he had property, life insurance or investments he could have named his new spouse either beneficiary or joint owner. Which means it automatically transfers to her. She then has power to decide what happens.

    If he didn't have a will then she would have to apply to be executor of his estate unless he named her as beneficiary and also co owner of his property.

    As his new spouse, she is entitled to up to $350,000 of his estate and then the rest would then be split by the kids but again, if he made her coowner and beneficiary, she would get it automatically.

    The bottom line is your kids as adults are not entitled to anything unless there was a direction made especially if she was listed in any documents as a beneficiary or owner or if she filed to be the executor of his estate. Any money owing or taxes due would come from the estate which means there may not even be anything left.

    Your ex was not obligated to leave money to the adult children. We updated our wills when we married and spoke at length with our estate lawyer about what my husband's kids were entitled to. There is language in his will about their lack of relationship and his decision to cut them off to protect the estate from challenges.

    Your kids can speak with an estate lawyer to learn more but fighting is expensive and not guaranteed.


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