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Ray
Ray, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  30 years in civil, probate, real estate, elder law
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My husband and I agreed to live apart. He went to Texas and

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My husband and I agreed to live apart. He went to Texas and I stayed in Ohio. On Sept 24 2010 he passed away. His mother told the authorities that he was divorced. Now his death certificate states that he was divorced and there is no surviving spouse. Because of this I cannot collect royalties that are due me as a surviving spouse. I have been told by the Texas Dept of Vital Statistics that the only person who can request this change is the one who provided that information. I have proven to her through documentation that we were not divorced. She refuses to do this because she refuses to believe her son lied when he said he and I were divorced. I have lost a lot of money because of this error on his death certificate. Can I sue her for willful fraud?

RayAnswers :

Thanks for your question and good morning.My sympathy here for your dilemma and situation.

RayAnswers :

You are going to need a Texas lawyer here in the county where he deceased.The lawyer can do two things here immediately.He can write the Oil Company demanding they suspend the payments.They will do that.That keeps the money until you can then file for probate.

RayAnswers :

The minerals and any other property he owned here passes under the laws of intestacy.If the court finds that you are the sole heir they will award it all to you.You can ask that you be appointed the personal representative.Once you are appointed here you would gather the assets and file an Inventory of them and pay any debts, taxes on the estate.Then as personal representative you would deed as personal representative deed the minerals to yourself.Once this is done and recorded then you can start receiving the minerals.And then you decide if you want to pursue the mother here you may well have a civil claim for those losses.

RayAnswers :

But getting the mineral payments held and probate started is the legal remedy here to get your payments.

RayAnswers :

You can locate a local Texas probate lawyer here

Customer:

Thank you. Can I force his mother to make the change? I don't have the $2,500.00 to pay for it.

RayAnswers :

The only way to force the mother here to correct it here is lawyer threatening to sue and even that may not work.You can write the Oil Company yourself and ask them to suspend the payments.And you can supply them copies of your marriage license.But they may want you to file probate here.This might qualify for a small estate--simplified probate proceeding.But it depends here if the lawyer uncovers additional assets.He may have had personal property or real estate or even bank accounts that you do not know about.

RayAnswers :

You are also entitled here to a death benefit from social security.Its a small amount.If you aren't getting social security yourself you can draw widows benefits.

Customer:

Thank you again. I am already drawing social security disability so no, I am not entitled to the widows pension. I will do what you suggest. Thank you again very much!

RayAnswers :

Here is the death benefit why not apply for that.

RayAnswers :

And you may want to see if his benefits are more than you are getting on disability.

RayAnswers :

Why not use the lawyer referral here.You get a half hour with a local lawyer and you may get a fee quote.Again he may other assets here--everybody has a bank account with additional funds.

RayAnswers :

I am so sorry that you have been treated this way by the mother.

RayAnswers :

You do have rights hre since you were still legally married in Texas.

Customer:

I have already done that, I worked far more years than he did. My own entitlement is nearly $300 more than what I would get on a Widows Pension. I was hoping threaten her with fraud because she knows for a fact that we were never divorced she just doesn't want me to get the oil money.

RayAnswers :

If you file for probate the court orders naming you the heir would supercede the death certificate and force them to change it.

RayAnswers :

Don't give up on this the law is on your side as the legal widow.

Customer:

I won't!! Thank you so much! You have given me hope!

RayAnswers :

Good luck to you.

RayAnswers :

If you can leave a positive rating it is much appreciated.

RayAnswers :

I hope that you will be so kind as to leave a positive rating. If you do have any additional questions about my answer please click the "Continue Conversation Link" so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. Please be aware that any rating of 1 or 2 is reflected as a negative rating and I receive no credit for my answers.


This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship.Information provided here is not legal advice. Rather it is simply general information.


 


 

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