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John Edwards absent from late wife's will

The will that Elizabeth Edwards signed days before her death last month made no mention of her estranged husband, two-time presidential candidate John Edwards.

The document signed Dec. 1, six days before her death, named her eldest child, lawyer Cate Edwards, as the executor of her estate and left personal effects, furniture, automobiles and other property to be divided among her children -- Cate, 12-year-old Emma Claire and 10-year-old Jack.

"Those are items that have sentimental attachment, like a grandmother's engagement ring or antiques she'd want to go only to her children and no one else," said Andrea Chomakos, an estate planning attorney who was not involved with the Edwards family.

"I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that John was disinherited. No one will know whether he was or not."

Other documents accompanying her will valued Elizabeth Edwards' estate at $496,000 in cash, securities, household furnishings, vehicles and ownership in businesses. She also owned real estate worth an additional $1 million, and she controlled a trust that may hold more assets.

John Edwards -- who made millions as a trial lawyer before beginning his political career -- could be a beneficiary of that trust, the details of which are not public, Chomakos said.

Inheritance laws in North Carolina and most other states bar a spouse from completely cutting off even an estranged spouse unless specified in a separation or other agreement between them, Chomakos said.

John and Elizabeth Edwards separated early last year after 32 years of marriage. John Edwards admitted he fathered a child during an affair with a former campaign worker.