Q: Couple separated for years, divorce underway, wife passes away, living in different states
My wife and I were in the process of divorcing when she passed away last week. She lived in Illinois, I live in Tennessee. We had been separated for nearly 25 years. I initiated the divorce. We have no property to divide, nor did she have power of attorney or a will to my knowledge. She had no attorney. The attorney I retained was in the process of finalizing the paperwork. Is there anything else I need to do on my end? Do I still need to contact a probate judge? And do I get a refund of the retainer fee from my attorney?
A: You should discuss all this with your attorney. But if she passed during the divorce proceeding, then there's no more divorce. Depending on her estate, you may and likely are entitled to some, if not all, of her assets. The issue would need to go to probate in Illinois since that's where she passed away. As for your retainer, the terms of your fee agreement with your attorney would determine the issue.
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