I got married 4 years ago to a man who was previously married .We were living in his house and i was the one in charge of selling his product but on my marriage certificate,we have declared that i am a housewife.We had been making monthly payment on this house from the business account till he owned it.Now he passed away and i want to know if i am entitled to part of the house.we had no children but he did from his previous marriage.
Thanks for your help.
Estate Planning Attorney
I'm sorry for the loss of your husband. What you will receive from his estate depends on a few factors.
You should take a look at the deed to the house. Are you titled jointly on it or is it just in his name? If you are titled jointly with rights of survivorship, then generally speaking, the house should pass to you under law. (The same is true for other accounts where you are joint, such as bank accounts or investment accounts.)
If you husband had retirement accounts or life insurance, there will likely be beneficiaries listed on these accounts. These accounts should go to the beneficiaries.
First, did your husband have a will or a trust when he passed away? If so, you should take a look at it.
When someone dies and they do not have a will or estate plan, how their estate is distributed will follow the law of "intestate succession." Generally speaking, if someone was married when they passed away and they also had children from a previous relationship, the surviving spouse will get 1/2 of the intestate estate and their children will get 1/2 of the intestate estate. (The "intestate estate" does not include the things that pass automatically, such as joint accounts or accounts with beneficiary designations.)
I would recommend that you make an appointment with a probate attorney in your area to discuss your legal rights in this situation. They will likely want you to bring in documentation regarding the house, the business, and your and your husband's finances, so you may want to gather this information now.
I hope this helps to answer your question. Please feel free to call my office if I can be of help: 503.646.2501.
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Family Law Attorney
Under Oregon law, a divorcing spouse is entitled to equitable distribution (which often, but not always, means equal distribution) of any assets acquired during the course of the marriage. So if you and your husband bought this house after you were married, you'd be entitled to half of its current value, whatever that might be. If - as it appears - he owned the house before your were married - then you have a claim to any equity in the house that was added while you were married. This is true even if you weren't working to earn money to contribute to the payments - the law presumes that stay-at-home spouses lend some other sort of value to the marriage. The other spouse can try to introduce evidence to rebut this presumption.
This all applies if you're asking about distribution of property in a divorce. It's not quite clear from this question if you were married to the man when he died. If you were, then what you'd get would be controlled by his will, if he had one, and by the intestacy statute, if he didn't. If you were divorced before he died, then again, there's the question of whether or not he had a will. Much depends on whether anyone else makes claims to the house. You should consult with a probate attorney. This is not so much a question about 'alimony' (in Oregon, we don't use that term - we talk about child support and spousal support), but about probate, so I've edited the question accordingly.
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Family Law Attorney
If you were married at the time your husband passed away, and he had no Will, you are entitled to 1/2 of his probate estate and his kids get the other 1/2. You need a consultation with an experienced probate attorney. Give me a call: 530-650-9662. No obligation. Diane
Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.
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