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Can I Inherit from An Ex-Spouse Who Died Intestate Without Any Relatives?

. Courts often hold that if you and your ex-spouse divorced, neither one of you probably wants to reward the other with any gifts upon your death.                        However, specific circumstances can sometimes work in your favor. Obviously, if your divorce decree included a right to receive a certain percentage of your spouse's pension, 401(k) plan or other benefits, those gifts must be honored.                                                                                       You should certainly consider hiring a Peachtree City probate attorney to protect your legal rights when your ex-spouse passes away -- if you have strong reasons to believe you should be inheriting something.

Key Factors Frequently Involved When An Ex-Spouse/Partner Dies

  • You are almost guaranteed some type of court battle if any blood relatives of the deceased learn of the death and demand their fair share under Georgia intestate laws;
  • Some states do make provisions that allow registered same-sex couples to inherit from one another. You'll need to ask your attorney which state’s laws govern your potential rights of inheritance – especially if you and your partner had already split apart prior to one person’s death;
  • There’s a traditional approach to this inheritance issue still honored by a majority of states. It basically indicates that a revocation of your rights as a divorced spouse occurred at the time your ex died – at least in regards to those gifts set forth in any will. However, you may still have a right to inherit from an intestate ex-spouse after your divorce if certain will substitutes were involved, such as:
  1. Joint tenancy property rights;
  2. Life insurance proceeds;
  3. Pension plans, and
  4. Other financial agreements that courts are willing to review as possibly still being valid in regards to your rights.

Conclusions

            Don't expect to receive much, if anything, from your ex-spouse under a will, especially if you're divorce decree did not specifically award you any future interests in your ex-spouse’s estate.                                                                                                                                                                     Should the courts locate any blood relatives to the deceased, it will naturally serve you well to interact as positively as possible with them in hopes of preserving some inheritance possibilities for yourself -- although your chances of receiving anything are unlikely.

To obtain help with satisfying all of your Georgia estate planning needs, please contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith today.  You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia