Elective Share Lawyers

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What Is an Elective Share?

An "elective share" is the legal term for the portion of a deceased person's estate that their surviving spouse may collect. The surviving spouse can receive the elective share in place of what was left to them in the will. The amount of the elective share varies from state to state, but it is usually between 1/3 and 1/2 of the total estate.  

Other factors can come into play when determining the amount of the elective share:

Can Someone Inherit and Take the Elective Share?

No. The elective share can only be taken in place of what the surviving spouse is left in the will. Therefore, if the will already leaves the surviving spouse with a portion of the estate that is equal to or greater than the elective share, the surviving spouse will only inherit through the will.

Can the Elective Share Be Avoided?

This depends on the state. Some states allow for an elective share to be avoided if:

If you wish to prevent your spouse from collecting the elective share after your death, you should contact a lawyer to find out what steps you need to take in your state.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If your spouse has recently passed away, and you want to determine whether to take under the will or the elective share, you should consult an estate lawyer. Laws on this issue vary from state to state, and can be very complex. A lawyer can help you understand the laws in your state and your options.

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Last Modified: 02-24-2015 11:25 AM PST

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