Skip to main content

My husband died intestate with adult children from a previous marriage. Are they entitled to anything?

Pittsburgh, PA |

We have a mortgage, a car payment, and no valuable assets. He had no life insurance, so I had to borrow $7000 from my family to bury him. We were married for 31 years. The home was solely in my name for approx. 28 of those years, but was put in both names when we had to refinance. My husband has approx. $1700 in credit card debt solely in his name. His adult children are telling me they want a share of the house. Are they entitled to anything?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. The answer SOUNDS like no, but I am sure there are a lot of other facts, here, and I would want to have an attorney review the terms of the deed. The kids would be entitled to a potential share of the probate estate, but it sounds like all the estate may have is debt.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!


  2. As Mr. Frederick suggests, if the title to the house was held as tenants by the entireties, common among married couples, then you became the sole owner of the house upon your husband's death. You need to have some one review the deed to confirm how title to the house was held. His children would only have a claim to probate assets, and only after legitimate claims against the probate assets were paid.

    NOTE: Mr. Fischer is an attorney licensed to practice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at 610-269-0900 Ext 2 or jgf@vflawoffice.com. This answer was prepared for educational purposes only. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. Frequently the question does not include significant and important facts and time lines that if known could significantly change the response. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.


  3. I am very sorry for your loss and now this unfortunate family stress. "Are they entitled to anything" is a broad question to which the answer is yes, but only if there are sufficient probate assets. I agree with the other attorneys here that the house seems to be protected if it is titled correctly. Anything else depends on how the car and other assets were owned. You should contact an experienced Estates Attorney to make those determinations and hopefully put all this to rest.


  4. I am so sorry for your loss.
    In PA, adult children of a deceased parent who are NOT children of the living spouse ARE entitled to half of the estate of their deceased parent (which is different then when the children are children of the living spouse, too). BUT, if you own the house as a tenant in the entirety (as Mr. Fischer said) then you own all of it now.
    If instead you and he owned it as a tenant in common, then you may owe something to his children, but if there is a mortgage against the house that may complicate things further; sometimes the home is titled one way and the debt is titled in another. It is possible that you still have the title to your home in your name alone, but both of you have your name on the mortgage, which I have seen before (banks failing to require the borrowers to get new title- if the bank made this mistake, it would be easy for you since it would mean he had no real ownership, only debt). Best to consult with an attorney in your area but get a copy of your refinance papers and the a current copy of the title to the home, first.

Wills and estates topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics