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Mark R. Manceri, P.A. Skilled & Trusted Representation
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Pompano Beach Elective Share Lawyer

You may think that your property is yours to do with as you please, and when it comes to making a will, you can decide what property to leave to whom, who inherits and who doesn’t. This is true to a great extent, but not entirely. A spouse is generally entitled to a share of the estate, which in some cases may be greater than the amount the testator intended. Pompano Beach elective share lawyer Mark R. Manceri is an expert in resolving disputes involving the spousal elective share under Florida probate law. Learn more about elective shares below, and contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. for help with will contests or probate litigation surrounding a Broward County estate.

What is the Florida spousal elective share?

Under Florida probate law, a surviving spouse may choose to take his or her inheritance under the deceased spouse’s will or may instead opt for an elective share of the estate. The amount of the elective share under Florida law is 30% of elective estate. Often times, a spouse inherits as much as one-half or even the entire estate left behind by a deceased spouse, but not always. A surviving spouse may choose the elective share in the event the deceased spouse tried to disinherit the surviving spouse or where the surviving spouse will receive a greater portion of the estate by choosing the elective share over the inheritance provided for in the will.

What is the “elective estate”?

Note that the elective share is 30% of the “elective estate.” The statute describing property entering into the elective estate is extensive. Basically, the elective estate includes the entire probate estate of the deceased, as well as the deceased’s interests in a number of other assets or property, such as the homestead value; any “pay on death” or “transfer on death” bank accounts; property held in certain joint title formats; the cash value of life insurance policies; pensions, retirement and deferred compensation plans; certain property the testator transferred in the last year before death; and more. Additionally, some property is specifically excluded by law from the elective estate. As a Board-Certified specialist in Florida wills and estates, attorney Mark R. Manceri can help you determine the extent of the elective estate and the value of the elective share.

How does one choose the elective share?

The surviving spouse files an election to claim an elective share with the Broward County court overseeing the probate or estate administration. There is a deadline to claim the elective share, which is the earlier of either six months from being served with notice of the estate administration or two years after the date of death.

Important facts to know about the elective share in Florida

The right to claim an elective share can be waived in advance through a valid and enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Also, an omitted heir is entitled to take the spouse’s intestate share of the estate, which is the amount the spouse would receive had the testator died without a valid will. This intestate share can be far greater than the 30% elective share, amounting to one-half or even all of the estate.

Help with Elective Share Decisions and Disputes in Pompano Beach

The Florida legislature made significant changes to the state’s elective share statutes in 2017. If receiving advice from an attorney regarding the spousal elective share or a probate dispute involving the elective share, it is important to speak with a lawyer who is well-versed in Florida probate law. Attorney Mark R. Manceri is certified as a specialist in wills and estates by The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and has been handling probate litigation and estate administration in Broward County for decades. If you have questions involving the elective share in a Broward County estate, contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. in Pompano Beach to discuss your concerns.

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