In the United States, statutory elective share law exists to prevent disinheritance of a spouse. Elective share statutes give to a surviving spouse a fixed fraction, typically out of a probate estate of the deceased spouse. Traditionally that fraction is one-third of the estate regardless of the length of the marriage. The Uniform Probate Code provides a more complicated scheme for determining the elective share. Elective share statutes are enacted in “separate property states.” These are often contrasted with “community property states.”
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
The portion of a deceased person's estate that the surviving spouse is entitled to claim under state law. In many states, the elective share (also called the statutory share) is about one-third of the deceased spouse's property. In some states, however, the amount the surviving spouse can claim depends on whether or not the couple has young children and, in a few states, on how long the couple was married. In most states, if the deceased spouse left a will, the surviving spouse must choose either what the will provides or the elective share. (See also: dower
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:15 pm