What rights does the surviving spouse have in the probate estate?
In addition to the right to inherit through the laws of intestacy, the surviving spouse has 4 primary rights. The first right is the right to an elective share, which would be 30% of the probate estate. The second right is the right to exempt property, which means that the surviving spouse can claim personal property and automobiles that were owned by the decedent. The third right is the right to homestead, which means that the surviving spouse would have the right to either keep the decedent’s house or live in the decedent’s house for the remainder of her life. The final right is the right to family allowance which would entitle the spouse to $18,000.00 in support payments while the probate estate is pending.