If 2 women have married to the same man & can show proof of marriage certif & he suddenly dies without a will who gets the

Asked almost 2 years ago - New York, NY

estate & social securtiy benefits with the 2nd wife name on death certificate

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Maria C. Tebano

    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If the man was never divorced from the first wife, and the first wife is still alive, then that marriage is still legal and valid. The second marriage is void and not legal. It is as though the second marriage never took place. Therefore, the first wife is the legal heir, if he died without a Will. The fact that the second wife is on the death certificate is of no moment. The proof of marriage for the second marriage, just confirms that he was guilty of bigamy and does not establish a valid marriage. The second wife will not be entitled to receive the social security benefits either. If you are the second wife, then I am sorry.

  2. Lori Noel Bovee

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I completely agree with Ms. Tebano's take on it. Unfortunately for the second wife, the marriage is void and she has no claim to the husband's estate or social security benefits.

  3. Yefim Rubinov

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Previous attorneys give you sond advice. The first wife is the legal wife and she should petition in Surrogates Court to become his administrator of his estate.

  4. Eric Edward Rothstein

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . First wife.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases.... more
  5. Bruce Howard Guttman


    Contributor Level 5


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . One man married to two women: First marriage is the legal marriage. Second marriage is void as bigamy is not allowed in the USA. Perhaps, given this man's track record there could be a third wife out there somewhere.

  6. Howard Robert Roitman

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . In the case of bigamy, the second marriage would be invalid, so only
    the first spouse would have the rights of a spouse.
    there were two wills, the court would try to determine which was the
    last will in time, and that is the will that would be probated as the
    decedent's will. If the probated will gave the decedent's estate to
    the second spouse, the first spouse would still have the rights of a
    surviving spouse, which could include the right to elect against the
    will a receive a statutory share of the estate (one third in most

    The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing... more

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