I am married to my second husband. I bought an apartment for us. I am now receiving an inheritance from my late father. My husband says it is halachically his. He also says that I cannot halachically leave the apartment to my children.
What is the halachic position please? I am 60 and have three children. I earn a living while my husband learns.
Property that a woman brings in to a marriage, or inherits after the marriage, is classified (unless otherwise specified before the marriage) as Nichsei Millug. The Halachic status of such property is that the principle belongs to the wife, with the right of use (and income generated from it – such as rental income from a property) going to the husband.
In the event that the husband predeceases his wife (or they get divorced), the total rights to these properties return to her.
In the event that the wife predeceases her husband, the husband automatically inherits his wife’s estate. If arrangements are made before the marriage, there are mechanisms available to ensure that the husband will not inherit these assets. However, if no such arrangement was put in place before the marriage, as far as the Halachah is concerned the husband will inherit his wife automatically. In such circumstances, even if the wife writes a will bequeathing her property to someone else it will only be valid if the husband agrees to it – drafting of all wills should be done under the auspicies of a Dayan who has expertise in this field to ensure their validity according to the Halachah, and particularly in this case.