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.
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.
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.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
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.
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
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