Is my husband entitled to half of what I inherit?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 15, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I live in Minnesota. My father recently passed away in New Jersey and left his estate to me. The estate is two houses and some life insurance. Does my husband have any claim to this inheritance?

Expert Answers

Your father died in New Jersey and left his estate to you. You want to know if your husband has any claim to this inheritance.

Generally, property left to one spouse is inherited only by that spouse. In other words, the inheritance is that spouse's separate property. The other spouse has no rights or claims to that property.

Of course, if an inheritance is left to both spouses, then both have ownership rights. But there is not legal presumption that property left to one spouse must have been intended to be left to both spouses.

That said, I am not an expert in New Jersey or Minnesota law. It is possible that either state, or both, has some peculiar legal rule that disagrees with what I said above. However, I strongly doubt that either state has such a peculiar rule.