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If my husband dies without a wil, can his children come into our home and take anything.

Willingboro, NJ |

We own our home 3 new cars and money i the bank. One card he had before we married.

Attorney Answers 3


From the way you have posed your question I assume you and your husband owned your home. You have the right to deny his children entry to the home and I expect your local police will back you up. Since your husband died without a will, his children are probably entitled to a portion of his estate under your state law. However, if the home is in joint tenancy with you that is not part of the estate, ditto for the car and bank account if jointly owned. His children need to go thru the probate court to get what they are legally entitled to, not just grab it. However, there can be an awful lot of expense in a contested probate so I would encourage you to try and work things out with his children if that is possible.

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I agree with the first answer but would advise you to have a consultation with an attorney to establsih what your rights are. Manyprobate attorneys will provide you with a free consultation. You can usually find such an attorney by calling your local bar association who usually keep a list of attorneys who can help.

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If your husband dies without a will the disposition of his property will depend on several factors including the title of the assets, whether any beneficiary is designated for any particular asset, and the size of the estate. In NJ, if your house is in both names and does not specify otherwise than it is a tenancy by the entirety and will pass entirely to the survivor. If the cars are titled jointly they too will pass to the survivor however if just titled in his name they will pass as part of the intestate estate. The money in the bank will pass to you if held jointly or if in an account that names you the beneficiary, however if the account is just in your husband's name and names no beneficiary than it will pass as part of the intestate estate. The division of the intestate estate is dependent on the size of the estate however if the intestate estate is less than $50,000 it will pass entirely to you. See my legal guide for more information on the division of an intestate estate in NJ.
The above assumes your husband dies a resident of NJ and that NJ law will apply. I'd strongly recommend you both having Wills to specify your intentions and hopefully avoid any complications.

Very truly yours,

Ed Smeltzer
Law Office of Edward J. Smeltzer II
180 Tices Lane, Bldg. B, Suite 103
East Brunswick, NJ 08816
Phone: 732-246-3131 Fax: 866-824-4779

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