Elective Share (or Spousal Share or Widow’s Share or Widower’s Share)

A share of the estate that a surviving spouse of the deceased may claim in place of what he or she was left in the decedent's will. Community property states do not have spousal shares. Laws that give a surviving spouse right to a spousal share vary greatly state-by-state, including the amount and method of calculation of the spousal share. Generally, spousal shares are designed to help support the surviving spouse. Related concepts include augmented estate and probate estate.

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