About Spousal Rights And Elective Share Disputes
Florida law provides many protections to the spouse of a deceased individual. Most notable is the elective share, which prevents someone from disinheriting their spouse by allowing the spouse to “elect” a statutory inheritance, rather than take an inheritance under the decedent’s will or trust.
If your spouse died and your status as a beneficiary is in question – perhaps because the two of you were estranged or perhaps planning to divorce soon – you can learn how to elect or claim your statutory inheritance. Attorney Brandon Forgione in Stuart, Florida, regularly assists widows and widowers in such circumstances. Contact Forgione Law for information and guidance.
Details About Elective Shares For Spouses
The elective share is 30% of the “elective estate,” which includes almost all types of assets, including those usually outside the scope of a probate proceeding, such as:
- Transfer-on-death financial accounts
- Life insurance with a designated beneficiary
- Property held jointly with a right of survivorship
The elective share process is generally divided into three phases, as described below:
- The court first determines whether the person is entitled to the elective share.
- If entitlement is found, the next phase is the amount of the elective share, which includes identification of the assets within the “elective estate” and then calculation of the net amount to be paid to the surviving spouse.
- After the amount is determined, the court next addresses contribution, which determines from what sources (such as the probate estate or other assets) the elective share is paid.
A spouse must timely claim the elective share within the earlier of (a) six months after the spouse was served with a notice of administration or (b) two years from the decedent’s date of death. If the elective share is not timely claimed, then it is waived.
Other Benefits Available To Surviving Spouses
Florida also provides other benefits for a decedent’s spouse, such as the right to seek a family allowance of up to $18,000 during the estate administration and an election to take a 50% fee simple interest in homestead property.
Attorney Brandon Forgione has more than a decade of experience in estate disputes, including elective share disputes.
Contact Forgione Law For Information About Elective Shares For Spouses
If you have questions about an elective share dispute or the rights of a decedent’s spouse, please contact Forgione Law.