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Spousal & Family Rights
Homestead Allowance

Virginia Estate Law - Spousal & Family Rights

Family Allowance
Exempt Property
Homestead Exemption
Elective Share
Augmented Estate
Omitted Spouse
Family Residence
Statutory Bar to Estate Rights

In addition to the family allowance and exempt property, a surviving spouse of a decedent who was domiciled in Virginia is entitled to a homestead allowance of $15,000. If there is no spouse the homestead allowance is divided among the decedent's minor children.

The homestead allowance has priority over all claims against the estate, except the family allowance and exempt property (discussed in the preceding sections).

Unlike the family allowance and exempt property, the homestead allowance is in lieu of any share passing to the surviving spouse or minor children by will or intestate succession, except if the amount passing to them is less than $15,000, the homestead allowance may be used to make up the difference.

Also, if the surviving spouse claims and receives an elective share (discussed in the next section), the surviving spouse may not also receive the homestead allowance.

The homestead allowance must be claimed within 1 year from the decedent's death using the same procedure described for family allowance and exempt property.

In some cases a careful analysis should be made to determine whether a surviving spouse and/or minor children should take the homestead allowance as compared to what they may be entitled to receive from the estate.

Elective Share >>>

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