Usually when someone passes and their children are still alive, inheriting the asset is not dependent on the estate settling. The asset is technically the childs at the moment of death. If this is the case, then your wife has already inherited and should she die before the estate settles, the assets she inherited would pass by her estate plan to her beneficiaries. If however the will states that the beneficiary must survive the deceased by a set number of days, then one would have to wait until those days pass to inherit.
Your wife's sister may be confused by the terms of the will. For example, if the will states, "to my surviving children in equal shares" this would give each of the children living at the time of their parent's death an equal share of the property. The children only need to be living at the time of the parent's death, not at the time the estate is settled. In some instances, the will may state that the beneficiaries must survive the testator by a certain period of time. If that is the case, once the survivorship period has been met, regardless of whether the estate is settled, your wife would inherit the property.
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Without more information it is impossible to tell you what will happen in your case. Most likely is that your wife's interest in the inheritance vested when her last parent passed away. However, if there is a survivorship provision in the will that says that the beneficiaries have to survive the parent by a certain number of days (in extreme cases this provision can require survivorship by up to 6 months or more), the inheritance would not vest until that time period had ended.
If a significant amount of time, say, 3 months, has passed since the last parent passed away, the inheritance has most likely vested regardless.
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I would not rely on your sister-in-law, for legal advice. Your wife is entitled to a copy of the WIll of the parent who died last. I would have this reviewed with an attorney and determine how to accomplish your objectives. It would also be an excellent opportunity for you and your wife to make sure that your OWN estate planning is in order, in light of receiving this inheritance.
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I haven't seen this addressed yet, but if your wife wants you to be the beneficiary of any of the property she is receiving, then she should have a will that provides for that.
As the others have stated, your wife must survive her mother to take under the will. You should review the will to see what that time requirement is. Your sister-in-law seems to be confused.
This is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. The answer provided is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied on to address your specific situation. This does not establish an attorney-client relationship.