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Ellen
Ellen, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  25 years of experience helping people like you.
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I live in Maryland. I have been divorced from my ex-husband

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I live in Maryland. I have been divorced from my ex-husband 7 years and both of us have remarried other spouses. My ex-husband died in January without leaving an updated will. The only will in existance is one from about 20 years ago and was authored while we were both in the military stationed in Germany. it is not registered here anywhere. In it it leaves me everything - which I do not want. The new wife is not on the mortgage of the home they shared together and is not on the car papers. I want none of these. The house has an interest only mortgage and is upsidedown in it's worth. The new wife also does not want this home. Here are my questions.
1. Am I liable for any of my ex-husbands debts?
2. Do I have to take the house and car
3. Can I just burn the will?
The new wife knows that I have the will and is treatneing me with saddling me with the house if I do not share an insurance policy that my ex left for me to distribute to our children.
Hello,


Thank you for your questions.

Here are my questions. 1. Am I liable for any of my ex-husbands debts?

You would only be liable for your ex-husband's debts if you cosigned on the debt. You would not be liable for his debts because you were beneficiary of his will nor because you were his former spouse.

2. Do I have to take the house and car
No you do not have to take the house nor the car. You can file a disclaimer with the court as to your interest under the will. Local counsel can prepare the disclaimer for you or you may be able to find a sample copy at a law library.

3. Can I just burn the will?

No this would be against the law

The new wife knows that I have the will and is treatneing me with saddling me with the house if I do not share an insurance policy that my ex left for me to distribute to our children.

Her threats have no legal basis

Please let me know if you have any further questions
Ellen and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for your response. There is a new twist.

Back around the time of Desert Storm, my now deseased ex-husband and I both started term life insurance policies. Both of us were in the military and both of us wanted to make sure that the other was covered enough to take care of our children. He was the beneficiary of mine and I am the beneficiary of his. Even after the divorce, he continued to pay for both policies. Even after the current wife moved in with him 7 years ago, he continued to pay on the policy. After they married 2 years ago, he continued to pay on the policy. Quarterly and yearly statements continued to come to his residence. In May 2009 he contacted the same insurance company and inquired about Long Term Care insurance. He did not change the beneficiary of the policy to the new wife even at that time. He changed the insurance policy at his work at that time, but did not change the beneficiaries on the ones we held together. After his death, the new wife insists that she is entitled to the insurance as his new wife and plans sue. I believe that this money was not intended for her, but intended for our 2 daughters. Is the new wife entitled to this insurance money? I don't want any part of it. It is not that I am wealthy, it is just that I didn't ask for child support or alimony and I can take care of myself. I want to use this to help our daughters.

Hello,


Thank you for your question.

It appears that she is not entitled to the insurance money unless you are divorce/property settlement agreement specifically states otherwise.

In Maryland, a former spouse remains entitled to survivor benefits and/or life insurance proceeds unless there is a specific waiver.

Estate of Altobelli v. IBM Corp., 849 F. Supp. 1079 (D. Md. 1994) -- general release clause waiving claims and interests cannot waive beneficiary status because it is no more than mere expectancy

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