Does my ex-wife have a claim on my inheritance?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 15, 2014
Wtcjojo asked...

I was married for 27 years and am now divorced. My father is about to pass away. Does my ex-wife have any claim to the inheritance I will receive from my father?

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

Divorce law differs in many aspects from state to state and in addition, if you and your ex-wife had a separation agreement that became incorporated into the divorce judgment of the court, the terms of that agreement as they applied to future inheritances would control. However, that being said, generally claims for division of property are not allowed after the initial judgment of divorce. This would mean that she could not make a claim for a share of the inheritance that you may receive. However, if your divorce judgment still allows for the possibility of alimony or a modification of any alimony order already made, your inheritance could affect your ability to pay increased alimony. If, however, your divorce judgment does not provide for alimony, she would not be able to make a claim either directly or indirectly on your inheritance.