Spousal Contests and Right of Election - Genser Cona Elder Law

Spousal Contests and Right of Election

If you're the spouse of a deceased person, New York laws protects the you from being disinherited. The law provides that a spouse is entitled to an "elective share" which represents the greater of $50,000 or one-third of the testator's estate.

Of course any death is a traumatic time, and funeral arrangements and other decisions must be made. Once these have been handled, it is important to initiate a spousal right of election proceeding if you have been left out of a Will. To receive estate assets through a spousal right of election, a claim must be filed. There is a specific time limit involved in filing this claim so time is of the essence to safeguard your rights.

Do Spousal Election Rights Extend to Any Other Family Members?

While it is not allowable for a spouse to be disinherited, these rights do not extend to any other family members, including children. Of note, spousal election refers only to a current surviving spouse. Thus, former spouses, even if provisions have been made in a Will for them, do not have rights which supersede those of the current spouse.

What Happens if a Spouse is Not Completely Disinherited But Only Given a Tiny Portion of an Estate?

New York law requires a spouse receive $50,000 or one-third of a decedent's estate. If the provisions of a Will designate less than those amounts, a spouse can file an Election to choose an elective share rather than receive the diminished amount specified in the Will.

How Do Prenuptial Agreements Affect Spousal Election Rights?

A prenuptial agreement can nullify spousal election rights provided the parties were separately represented, the document was fully understood and signed without any extenuating circumstances, such as coercion.

How Can an Attorney Assist with Protecting Your Spousal Election Rights?

The experienced attorneys at Genser Cona Elder Law can assist with all issues involving claims of election rights, including:

  • Filing of claims and petitions
  • Fending off challenges of other beneficiaries

The issues surrounding spousal election rights are tricky even in the most ideal of circumstances, so it is important to make sure every step you take is overseen by an experienced probate attorney.

Contact Genser Cona Elder Law

As a spouse, the attorneys at Genser Cona Elder Law will work to protect your rights. Since 1998, we've worked to protect the rights of spouses and older adults. We proudly implement strategies to protect our clients’ interests and help guide them through the confusing process of estate administration.

Contact Genser Cona Elder Law today.