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Is a wife next of kin?

Burlington, NJ |

my husbands father died and my husband was left 1/3 of his dad estate. his sister is the excutor of the will and is intentionally dragging her feet, in hopes that her brother dies and nothing is left to me. We have a child 11 together and he has a 21 yr. son from his 1st marriage. if my husband dies not only will it be emotionally devistating it will leave me in a lot of debt. It's only about 40,000$ but this will be enough to keep us and our son in our home until he is 18 along with ssi

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Attorney answers 2


If the will does not mention you explicitly, then there is no inheritance for you if your husband dies. If the phrase to your husband has per stirpes after it, that means if he dies, then the bequest will go to his sons 1/2 to the first and 1/2 to the second. The 11 year old would have his money put in trust and usually the parent would administer the trust. Nothing prevents your husband from hiring a probate attorney to accelerate the distribution of the estate.

You are next of kin to any money your husband has when he dies. You are not next of kin if a blood ancestor is willing an estate share to him; his money only goes to blood descendants unless his spouse is specifically mentioned.
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Mr. Sarno is licensed to practice law in NJ and NY. His response here is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Sarno strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their own state to acquire more information about this issue.


Unless the will specifically requires survival till distribution (which would be an very unusual provision) your husband became entitled to his 1/3 upon his surviving his father. Should your husband die prior to distribution his 1/3 interest in his father's estate would pass by the terms of your husband's will or if he does not have a Will by the rules of intestacy.

Assuming the WIll does not have any specific language requiring survival till distribution or survival to a particular age not yet attained the best way for your husband to ensure you will receive his portion of his father's estate is for your husband to have a Will expressing his wishes.

Very truly yours,

Ed Smeltzer

NOTE: 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. 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.

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