If you find an estate inventory of a deceased married person, beware that the property in the inventory is usually for the couple, not just the property that belonged to the deceased spouse.
If there was no prenuptial agreement, the husband and wife jointly owned all their property. The inventory would usually appraise all the property, of which the deceased’s share would be half. That half would be divided among the heirs of the deceased, such as his or her children or (in the absence of children) the parents, siblings, or more distant relatives. The surviving spouse would not inherit anything, but would keep her or his half of the property.
In many cases, the surviving spouse came to an agreement with the children of their guardians to purchase the deceased spouse’s share. Sometimes it was purchased outright, but more often the surviving spouse could keep the entire estate in exchange for a debt to the children to be paid later, for example when they came of age.