Does an ex-spouse have any authority over an intestate estate?
This question falls under NE intestacy law. Recently, my mother-in-law passed away in a car accident. She was very recently divorced (finalized 45 days prior and effective only 2 weeks prior to her death). She had no will. She left behind 2 children aged 21 and 12. Her ex-husband was awarded custody of the minor child in the divorce. We are assuming that her eldest child (my wife) would be the default Personal Representative for her estate, since there were no surviving heirs of legal age, but he disagrees. Does her ex have any direct authority over her estate?
Your wife should go ahead and apply for appointment as the personal representative. The ex-husband has absolutely no direct authority over the estate and is probably not even legally eligible to serve as the personal representative in this situation. The divorce makes him a stranger to his ex-wife, and to her estate, in the eyes of the law.
The only exception here is, that the ex-husband does have the ability to assert the younger child's rights in the estate. This makes it much more important for your wife to have an attorney handle the estate for her (the attorney's fees are properly paid out of the estate), because it sounds like the ex-husband will be looking for your wife to make a mistake as an excuse to intervene.
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