It has been widely reported that in the will she signed just days before her death, Elizabeth Edwards left her entire estate to her children. In fact, her estranged husband John apparently is not even mentioned in the will.
But that's not necessarily the end of the story. The law of North Carolina, like most states, includes a right for a surviving spouse to "elect" against the estate of a deceased spouse. North Carolina provides that a surviving spouse may "elect" to receive distribution of one-third of the deceased spouse's estate, which is similar to the law in effect in New York.
However, it is almost certain that the separation agreement executed by the Edwards' would have included a provision that each spouse "waived" the right to an elective share from the estate of the other spouse, even if one of the spouse's were to die prior to a divorce. Accordingly, there is little chance that even if he were inclined to do so, John Edwards will be entitled to excercise the right to elect against Elizabeth's will.