Elective Share

Definition - What does Elective Share mean?

In probate law, an elective share guarantees the surviving spouse a statutorily defined share of the deceased spouse's estate. The surviving spouse may elect to take this defined share of the estate, or accept what the deceased spouse left the surviving spouse in the will.

Elective shares developed as a means to protect a surviving spouse's inheritance.

Justipedia explains Elective Share

As probate law has progressed in contemporary times, courts have recognized that surviving spouses have valid claims to wealth that accumulated in the deceased spouse's estate while the couple was married.

Often, in marriages, one spouse becomes the primary income earner while the other spouse is involved in child-rearing and household work. It can be difficult to ascertain the value of the surviving spouse's contribution in labor, support and domestic tasks to the deceased spouse's estate, so the development of elective share legislation and jurisprudence protects the surviving spouse's interest in the accumulated wealth.

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