Menu ${}${SEMFirmNameAlt}${}${SEMFirmNameAlt}
Practice Areas
Let's Get Started!

Your rights when it comes to inheritance law

Survivors have certain rights to a family member's property after they have passed away, and these rights are governed by inheritance law. Going by this law differs from state to state, but you may be able to claim inheritance from your spouse, regardless of what has been written in their will. This right depends on whether the state follows community property law or common law.

In Massachusetts, common law is followed, therefore this article will be focused on how common law governs in regards to inheritance rights.

Common law and inheritance rights

In common law states such as Massachusetts, a spouse is not entitled to half of the property acquired during the marriage after the other spouse's death. Property acquired during a marriage in common law states is therefore not necessarily owned by both spouses - it can be owned just by one, and therefore by default it will always remain under their ownership.

However, a surviving spouse is entitled to protection from complete disinheritance, even in common law states. The exact guidelines differ between states, however most of the time, the surviving spouse is allowed under the law to make a claim for at lease one-third of their late partner's property.

What happens after divorce?

When a divorce has become finalized, it is common for states to have in place an automatic revocation of gifts made to a former spouse in the other spouse's will. Therefore, it can be difficult to claim inheritance rights in regards to a deceased former spouse.

Source: Findlaw, "Inheritance law and your rights," accessed Aug. 18, 2017

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Serving businesses and individuals throughout Massachusetts

Waltham Office
375 Totten Pond Road
Suite 200
Waltham, MA 02451

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Waltham Law Office Map

Braintree Office
25 Braintree Hill Office Park
Suite 406
Braintree, MA 02184

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Phone: 617-523-1555
Braintree Law Office Map

Cranston Office
200 Midway Road
Suite 159
Cranston, RI 02920

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Cranston Law Office Map

Hyannis Office
1330 Phinney’s Lane
Hyannis, MA 02601

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Hyannis Law Office Map

Norwood Office
520 Providence Highway
Suite 10
Norwood, MA 02062

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Norwood Law Office Map

Westborough Office
276 Turnpike Road
Suite 228
Westborough, MA 01581

Westborough Law Office Map

Woburn Office
444 Washington Street
Suite 203
Woburn, MA 01801

Woburn Law Office Map