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Is my brother's estranged wife entitled to his inheritance?

Miami, FL |

They were legally separated a few years back and remained separated until his death.
It was stated in the separation papers that she would not be entitled to his inheritance.
Now, after he has passed, he has become the beneficiary of an inheritance. He did not
have a will. Who is entitled to the inheritance?

There were no children. There are adult siblings. Parents are deceased.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

Someone needs to review the paperwork in detail. It *sounds* like the spouse is not entitled to anything. So the question would be who the heirs are, since there was no Will. The Wife would not take, based on the agreement. Did your brother have children? If not, are your parents alive? If not, then the siblings would appear to be the heirs. I believe that this is a complicated enough situation that you really should invest in an hour or two of attorney time.

James Frederick

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You would need to provide more information and documents to get an answer. As Attorney Frederick's response demonstrates, what you have provided raises more questions than answers. You should gather the information and make an appointment with a probate attorney.


As the others mention this is a "likely no", but

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Matthew Erik Johnson

Matthew Erik Johnson


Apologies: "likely no" but there is more information we would need to be certain. First and foremost, the laws in Florida may be different than most - and a complete separation/divorce may be required in one state but not another before an inheritance becomes void as to an ex spouse - the difference between WA and CA for example. In addition, absent an agreement to the contrary, all inheritances are considered community property anyway - whether they were ever married or not. The curious question in this case would be if the children took by per sterpes (the children receive what the father would have received) - whether that property would be considered community property for the purpose of determining inheritance - and I think it would be. Thus the WIll is going to be the determining factor - and whether the Will allows the brother's children to receive the brother's share. You should also advise that they seek out an estate planning attorney if the children are under-age - as a trust may be very useful in protecting the assets going forward.