Denver, CO asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Utah

Q: My mother and father kept their finances separate from each other

he bought the house, she bought everything in it. When she died, in her will she left me all of her personal belongings (a handwritten list included with the will) which shows the furniture, etc. I've left everything in place since my father is still alive and don't want him living with just a folding chair. She also left me her car. My brothers' attorney (they are trying to break up the trust) is saying that my father has "marital interest" in these things so they don't really belong to me. I've never heard of such a thing when dealing with a will. Is there such a law and what does it say? Can my mother's wishes prevail?

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1 Lawyer Answer

Wesley Winsor

Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Saint George, UT
  • Licensed in Utah

A: You can't disinherit your spouse. So regardless of what the will says, your father has a right to the first $75,000 + half of whatever is left over. Do you know if they had a prenuptial agreement? Probably not right?

So yes there is a marital interest. All personal property is considered owned in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship.

If you are looking to enforce the provisions of the will, you will need to file an action in probate. That way, the Court will determine who is entitled to what. You may not be able to get everything, but you might be able to get some things or maybe half of what was on the list depending on the property that is there.

I hope this helps.

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