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My husband is a beneficiary of his grandmother's estate. He recently died and I need to know if I have rights as his spouse.

Ashland, OR |

He is named to receive an equal portion from the sale of her house. I was told it was drawn up according to California law. We live in Oregon and would like to know if I have legal claim.

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All the other answers are correct. You will have to see what your husband's grandmother's estate plan stated specifically, as well as the order of who preceded whom in passing. Many times, an estate plan specifically states that nothing is to pass to spouses, but only to children of biological family members. Here, in the best case scenario, your husband (sorry for your loss) passed after his grandmother. Her estate plan was open such that her estate assets pass down to each grandchild or their estate without restriction. Then, under Oregon law, if all of your children are both yours and your husband's biologically, you get 100% of the assets that pass into your husband's estate. The law assumes that your children will inherit from you, the surviving spouse. However, if your children are blended, meaning some are his, some are yours, some may be both of yours, then you only get 50% and the remaining 50% is divided between his children and your mutual children in equal shares. If there is an attorney in CA handling the estate matters there, he or she will assist you with obtaining the assets and will know of any restrictions Grandmother placed upon them. You will not likely need an attorney unless you need to probate any of your husband's assets at this time.

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Very sorry for your loss. I assume your husband died after his grandmother.
The grandmother's estate would go to your husbands estate.
Your husbands estate would be controlled by his will or by state statutes.
You will have spousal rights as a spouse unless you signed a pre-marital agreement.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.



Thank you for your kind words. Yes, he did die after his grandmother passed away. My concern was about the fact that this document was drawn up according to California law. I understand this was done to avoid certain legal issues. No, there was no pre-marital agreement either. Do I need to have any concerns regarding the fact that it was drawn up according to California law? I would think that regardless of which state was used as a template Oregon law would have precedence. Again, thank you so much for your assistance.


If the grandmother was a resident of California, then CA law would apply to her estate. If she lived in Oregon, then Oregon law would apply. I believe that you would take your husband's share, unless the trust had some terms that stated otherwise. Because your husband survived his grandmother, his share would normally be vested, and it would pass through HIS estate. Oregon law would appear to apply to THAT. You MAY need a lawyer to help you sort this out.

James Frederick

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Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.

Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.


James-Merry Christmas


It would depend on who died first and the specific language in any Will or trust.

If no Will or Trust is present, then if your husband died before his grandmother, then he would receive nothing, and then you would receive nothing.

If he died after the grandmother passed; then he would be entitled to his share, and then his share would be distributed in accordance with his Will or by intestate succession (meaning you get some of it)

Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale negotiations, and estate planning in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. The response does not constitute specific legal advice, which would require a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter; rather, it is intended to be general legal information based on the limited information provided by the inquirer; it This response also does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established after a conflict of interest evaluation is completed, your case is accepted, and a fee agreement is signed. Johnson Legal Group, PLLC

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