Protecting Your Rights as an Heir or Beneficiary
Seattle & King County | Tacoma & Pierce County
Everett & Snohomish County | All Washington
For Attorneys, Lawyers, & the Public
WA-Probate > Probate-Litigation > Rights of Decedent's Spouse or Child > Example of Family Support Award to Spouse
In 1964 made a Will giving half of his estate to each of his two sisters.
In 1966 married Leona (thus, so far, making Leona a potential omitted spouse, as his Will failed to mentioned her).
In 1979 died survived by Leona (who now, as an omitted spouse, is entitled to take her intestate share despite the Will).
Left an estate consisting of his house, as separate property, valued at $85,000.
It was undisputed that:
Leona was entitled to:
As a surviving spouse: $20,000 as an award for family support (then called "an award in lieu of homestead"), and
As an omitted spouse: 3/4 of the estate passing to the heirs and beneficiaries.
The two sisters were entitled to 1/4 of the estate passing to the heirs and beneficiaries.
At trial, the Court awarded:
$20,000 "off the top of the estate" to Leona as an award for family support, leaving $65,000 of value in the house.
3/4 of the $65,000 of value in the house (ie, $48,750) to Leona as her intestate share, resulting in Leona receiving $20,000 + $48,750 for a total of $68,750 of the $85,000 estate.
1/4 of the $65,000 value in the house (ie, $16,250) to be split equally between the two sisters.
Leona appealed, asserting that the trial Court should have taken the two steps in the opposite order:
3/4 of the total estate of $85,000 (ie, $63,750) should go to her as her intestate share --- leaving $21,250.
$20,000 of the $21,250 that remains should go to her as her award for family support --- leaving $1,250.
The balance of $1,250 should go to the two sisters.
The Appellate Court affirmed the trial Court's decision. Estate of Pesterkoff, 37 Wn. App. 418 (1984).
Bottom-line: By receiving an award for family support, Leona increased the amount of property she received from her husband's $85,000 estate by $5,000 --- from $63,750 that she would have otherwise received based solely on her intestate share to $68,750.
|Right of Surviving Spouse to Family Support||