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    Why year’s support is a hidden tool surviving spouses should know about.

    year's supportWhen someone has passed away leaving behind loved ones the courts allow for certain relatives to receive “additional” compensation from the estate. A Petition for year’s support is the document that can be filed with the court by spouses and/or minor children of the deceased. Year’s Support is a separate action and can go along with the actual estate administration. In an estate, spouses and children (depending on the specific circumstances) are entitled to inherit from the estate. So you might be wonder what is the purpose of Petition for Year’s Support when the only two groups of people allowed to request it are already going to inherit for the estate. The answer to that question can be a complicated one. There are many different reasons and strategies used when filing a Petition for Year’s Support.

    Year’s Support can be used to go around certain creditors of the estate. Year’s Support claims are typically paid first out of the estate, and the rest of the creditors received what is left. Then once all the creditors of the estate are paid the remaining balance in the estate is disbursed to the heirs or beneficiaries of the estate. So if you have a situation where the estate has more debts then assets it might be a good idea for the surviving spouse or minor children to move forward with Year’s Support in order to try and preserve some of the estate assets for their continued support.

    The amounts awarded by the court vary from case to case, but then general rule is that the amount awarded is based upon the need of the support and the petitioner’s ability to provide for themselves.

    Related Topic:  The Responsibilities of an Executor

    Year’s Support can also be filed in lieu of opening up a full estate to be administered. If there are minimal assets going into the estate a Year’s Support might be the best and easiest option for transferring the assets to the spouse or minor children. The type of assets that can be obtained through this process are all those that would have gone into the deceased’s estate (bank accounts, real estate, etc. that are titled solely in the deceased name). However, creditors do still have an opportunity to object to Year’s Support, and could potential prevail and be awarded a portion of the deceased’s estate.

    As you can see there are many factors that can make a major difference in determining the best option for your specific situation. For another look at year’s support, read this article.  Our office always suggests consulting with a qualified probate team because you only get one shot at doing year’s support correctly. If it gets messed up, then you may lose it altogether.


    Disclaimer: The information above is provided for general information only and should not be considered legal advice. Our probate lawyers provide legal advice to our clients after talking about the specific circumstances of the client’s situation. Our law firm cannot give you legal advice unless we understand your situation by talking with you. Please contact our law office to receive specific information about your situation.

    About the author

    Erik J. Broel
    Founder & ceo

    Erik founded the firm in 2009. He sees it as his personal mission to demystify the process of handling an estate or trust, and to help people by making the complex estate process simple and accessible. He believes there is always a better way to do things, and loves finding new and innovative ways to deliver better, more effective service that solves the client’s key problem or issue, and improves the client’s life.

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