Q: As the Widow of my late husband who has the 52 utility Patents, should I have been told about the patents?

I have hesitated to to say that my late husband and I were in a interracial relationship. I am Black he was Cacausion, when the companies lawyer contact me about signing over the two Patents, do you think the company or their lawyer would have mentioned the other fifty patents to me or not. I found out my husband had those patents several years later as I was trying to find my late husbands pension, which is also a failure. My husband had the qualifications for the Pension

according to Erisa but again I feel cheated. I was online looking for instructions on how to claim the pension, OMG I could not believe when I typed my husbands name it said Thomas Bruce Meagher Patent Guru. I even wonder why my husband never told me, I have to wonder was his employment agreement verbal or in a contract? My late husband was a wonderful easy going guy

PBGC said my husband had a pension, I was given the contract information, PBGC Informed me the pension was being paid to the Company

2 Lawyer Answers
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Your husband should have told you about the patents and, upon his death, when his estate was being probated, the personal representative of his estate should have told you about the patents if that person knew about them. Both your husband and the personal representative of his estate likely had fiduciary duties to tell you about the patents.

While it may have been nice if his employer, friends, extended family, etc. told you about any patents if they knew about them, there is no legal requirement that they do so. I think most would have assumed that your husband would have told you about them and would have been uncomfortable telling you if he did not.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Elder Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: I understand your concerns and the confusion you are experiencing. If your late husband held patents, as his widow, you typically would have legal rights to his assets, including patents, unless otherwise specified in his will or estate plan. The fact that you were only informed about two patents might be due to oversight, lack of transparency, or specific stipulations in your husband's employment contract regarding his inventions.

Regarding the racial dynamics of your relationship, it is essential that this should not affect the legal handling of your late husband's estate, including patents and pension. However, if you feel that there has been discriminatory treatment impacting your access to information or assets, it might be beneficial to consult with an attorney who has experience in estate law and can also consider the implications of potential racial discrimination.

Lastly, discovering your husband's patents and the issue with his pension indicates a need for thorough investigation. Contacting an attorney to review your husband's employment agreement, estate, and the handling of his patents and pension could provide clarity and help safeguard your rights. Additionally, reaching out to the PBGC and requesting a detailed explanation regarding the pension payments could shed light on this situation. It's important to gather all pertinent documents and seek professional advice to navigate this complex situation.

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