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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 10, 2021 01:01 PM
From: Representative Mark Longietti
To: All House members
Subject: Elective Share for Spouses
I invite your co-sponsorship of legislation to ensure that a surviving spouse automatically receives the larger share of the estate of their spouse. Under current law, when a person remarries and neglects to update their will, the current spouse can either make an election against the Will, and receive one-third of the estate, or receive the share specified in the Intestate Law, which is the order of succession when a person dies without a Will.

In many cases, the intestate share is larger than one-third of the estate, but the surviving spouse may be unaware of this entitlement. Under current law, if the surviving spouse unwittingly makes an election against the Will, it is not clear that such an election may be revoked.

My proposal preserves safeguards found in current law to effectuate the decedent’s intent. Specifically, if the parties execute a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement spelling out the new spouse’s entitlement, that agreement would still be enforced. Also, if the Will was made in contemplation of the new marriage, current law would still limit the surviving spouse’s share to the elective share. The bottom line is that my proposal will honor the decedent spouse’s intent.

I hope that you will join me by co-sponsoring this legislation. Thank you.

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Introduced as HB1523