Losing a loved one can be a devastating experience. When this loss is the result of another person’s actions, you might feel frustrated. This is a natural reaction, and it might take you some time to recover from the experience. Unfortunately, you may not be able to focus on your own emotions and grieving process at this time. This is because you will have many practical issues to deal with. Upon the death of a loved one, you will have to make funeral arrangements. You also have to sort through assets and evaluate debt to settle your loved one’s estate.
If your loved one left behind a Will, this can make the process easier. A Will explains the deceased’s wishes and instructs how to handle certain situations. If your loved one did establish a valid Will before their death, this Will should get followed. But, if your loved one died because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, some exceptions can be made to a Will. In this section, I will discuss these exceptions and how they may affect your family.
Exceptions are generally made to Wills to protect or help family members of the deceased. In particular, any family members who were dependent on the deceased will need help. This fact allows judges and courts to grant exceptions to help dependent family members. For example, let’s say the deceased left valuable property to a nondependent family member. A judge can overrule this provision in the Will. The judge can rule that this property should go to dependent family members. In most cases, this means the deceased’s spouse or children. This exception to a Will is made to help a family compensate for the death of their provider and loved one.
One other exception to a Will that can be made involves the surviving spouse of the deceased. A surviving spouse may request statutory share in their late spouse’s property. This means that the surviving spouse is requesting entitlement to property. The spouse can request a third of the property mentioned in the deceased’s Will. If granted the deceased’s debts get paid.
After this happens, the surviving spouse has a claim to one third of the deceased’s property. All that the surviving spouse has to do to get their statutory share is give written notice to the court. Almost all requests made by spouses for a statutory share are granted. This is so a spouse does not suffer financially as a result of their spouse’s death. But, if the surviving spouse left the deceased before their death, this is a different case. Statutory share isn’t granted in this case.
Distribution of Recovery Without a Will
In the event that the deceased did not have a Will, a judge and the probate court will determine how to divide assets. In most cases, assets and property will be divided between immediate family members. Spouses, children, and parents are immediate family members in this situation. If the deceased had other family dependents, they might also be immediate family members.
When a person dies, their debts get paid off. The rest of the deceased’s estate is then divided between immediate family members. If the deceased is survived by a spouse and parents, the spouse will receive three-fourths of the estate. The parents of the deceased will receive one-fourth of the estate. The spouse will receive the first $100,000 if there is any compensation awarded in a lawsuit. If the deceased is survived by a spouse and children, the spouse will get half of the estate. The other half of the estate gets divided equally among the surviving children. Again, the spouse will receive the first $100,000 of a wrongful death settlement.
In the unexpected event of a loved one’s death, there will be many difficult choices that you have to make. Luckily, immediate family members depending on the deceased will receive support from the court. This happens even if there is no Will or if the deceased did not provide for these family members in their Will. For more help, please contact my office here.