Wills, Trusts, and Estates
In all separate property states but Georgia, a surviving spouse is entitled to some amount, usually one-third, of the decedent spouse's estate.
Virginia gives part of a similar augmented estate, but not reduced based on how long people are married. The part is then one-third if the couple did not have surviving descendants, and one-half if they did.
The elective share is what the surviving spouse is entitled to. If she is entitled to $300k but her marital property of what she already owns is $200k, ⅔ of the share has been satisfied, so she gets $100k first from the estate.
- Note that it's not how much she owned. Under UPC § 2-209(a)(2), it's the martial property portion of the amount included under UPC § 2-207.
- Also, the full amount of property given to the surviving spouse outside of probate under UPC § 2-206.
Pay-on-death assets are often excluded by state statutes.
It is possible for a couple to waive these either before or during marriage by agreement if they had access to independent counsel and stuff.