A spouse or child can claim support from a deceased’s estate regardless of what the deceased’s Last Will and Testament might say. In fact, a grant of “year’s support” by a probate court can result in all the estate being paid out before the Will is even reviewed, or other heirs’ rights are considered.
In a recent Georgia case, a probate court granted a widow $3 million as “year’s support”. That was the entire estate and left nothing to be distributed to heirs.
The deceased had no Will, so his sole daughter would have been entitled to a significant share (one-half or $1.5 million) and his widow one-half under the rules in Georgia upon death without a Will. To die without a Will is known as being intestate. The daughter did not object to the widow’s petition for “year’s support” nor to the amount of $3 million. The daughter claimed the widow promised to share the estate equally. But upon award of the “year’s support”, there was nothing left, and daughter received nothing.
Crowe v. Elder Georgia Court of Appeals, 2011.
The information provided in this summary is general and for information only and does not constitute legal advice for any particular situation of facts and circumstances. If you have need of legal advice, please consult an attorney for your specific questions.