taking against the will

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Taking against the will refers to the decision of the surviving spouse to refuse what the deceased spouse chose to leave to them in the will. Instead of accepting whatever was left to them in that will, the surviving spouse will claim the share of the estate that is allowed by state law. Therefore, taking against the will refers to the surviving spouse’s choice to claim their statutory share. Usually, the surviving spouse decides to take against the will when the statutory share is larger than the property left in the will.

See also: elective share

[Last updated in November of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]