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Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 20401
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp. with Estate Law issues
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I've been married years in state of New York, but my husband

Customer Question

I've been married for 58 years in state of New York, but my husband & I were legally separated for 57 of those years. We lived separately and filed tax returns separately.
We are now living togther in Florida as florida residents for the last year as a married couple. Keep in mind we never divorced. My husband did a new will in Florida so I would be looked after if he should pass before me. A realitive was excluded from the will and that person never really got along with me. The relative always thought we were divorced , and now is upset that those aren't the legal facts.
I am being asked to agree in legal written that my husband and I held ourselves as divorced . I am saying we held our selfs as separated .
My question is if I agree to wording " held ourselves as divorced". Could that term come back in estate or any case law where I as wife could not get my elective share because we held ourselves looking like we were divorced and family believed that..?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for the information and your question. Can you please tell me what this document is that you are being asked to sign with those words and why you would ever agree to sign it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We re did our vows in Florida and had a wedding ceremony, I did not know that you can't have two marriage lisences , so there for the florida lisence is null & void, and the New York lisence is recognized only. We have a court appointed guardian because my husband is old and cannot handle our financial's. (I do not trust the guardian ) and she is asking me to sign saying that the florida marriage is void , which I agree and understand why but then she put in there the words" that my husband & I " held ourselves divorced"
The guardian happens to be involved on some level socialy with the relative who is excluded from the will. So you undrstand my concerns.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am willing to say words " held our selfs as separated". But they are persistent on the words" held themselves as divorced". I'm afraid that there's some loop hole in estate or case law that if I agreed to that for I know that the relatives are after our money in the estate.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply, however, you still didn't say what this document is that you are being asked to sign. Can you specifically tell me what that is? Why is this person asking you to do this? Also, when you say "we" have a court appointed guardian, do you mean both of you are under court ordered guardianship?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The guardian was appointed only for my husband , not for me. Guardian has attorney & they originally were trying to annul the marriage until they found out that we were never divorced . I will attach the document below
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Thank you that was very helpful. This document is actually positive for you as the court acknowledges that you are still married. Nothing could be better for purposes of your inheritance rights. That clause that states that you held yourself out as divorced is really not of any consequence from a legal perspective, even if the language does understandably bother you. It really is only explaining that you are now and, always were, married. So, again, this will not effect your rights either under a Will (which hopefully you all have) or intestate laws in Florida for you to take your elective share.

Please feel free to ask follow up questions if you have them. If none, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I understand what it's saying. But is there any case law or any situation where a couple held themselves as divorced, filed tax returns as single person ( not as seperate but married) and for all other propose appeared divorced ..for time period over 50 years , could there be a situation that they could find a mistake of some sort and I would have a estate problem in ligation?
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

No, this would in no way effect your rights under a Will or under intestate succession. Categorically no effect on that issue. The document and the law could not be any clearer, you are now and have been married for the complete time and that is all that is necessary under estate law.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
would you suggest that it would be better for me to have the wording changed to "held as separated". Since that was the facts, rather than divorced which
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

You can ask that it be changed, but as I mentioned, this particular clause is not really the focus of the document, it just explains the evidence that the court apparently heard, but was irrelevant. If the court didn't hear that evidence, then you have an absolute right to have the language changed to what the court did hear. But again, this language has no legal relevance in regards ***** ***** law.

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any further follow up questions for me from the answers I provided to you on the 18th. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit (paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please le tme know so that I can inform the Site administrator. Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at:

Thank you.