Probate, trust, guardianship and inheritance litigation
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Surviving Spouse Rights Arizona

Surviving spouse rights in Arizona are set forth by Arizona’s Trusts and Estates Code and include:

  • Community Property
  • Intestate Share
  • Homestead allowance
  • Exempt Property
  • Family Allowance


Arizona is a community property state.  All assets acquired during the marriage are community property – the spouse is already the owner of one-half of the community property assets, no matter how the assets are titled.  Because Arizona is a community property state, there is no elective share in Arizona.

What does a Surviving Spouse Receive in Arizona When there is No Will?

When a decedent dies without a valid will, they are said to have died intestate.  Arizona law will then govern the share of the estate that goes to the widow and any other heirs of Decedent. See Arizona Trusts and Estates Code 14-2102.

Surviving Spouse Share – Decedent Has No Descendants Or All Shared Descendants With Surviving Spouse

If the decedent has no descendants, or all of the decedent’s descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse receives all of decedent’s separate property and decedent’s 1/2 of the community property.

Surviving Spouse Share – Not All Shared Descendants With Decedent

If the decedent has descendants, where at least one descendant is not also a descendant of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse receives one-half of the decedent’s separate property and none of decedent’s community property.

To learn more about intestate succession in Arizona, see Who Are Next of Kin In Arizona.

Allowances and Exemptions

  • Homestead:  A surviving spouse in Arizona is entitled to a homestead allowance of $18,000.  AZ Rev. Stat. section 14-2402.
  • Exempt Property: A surviving spouse in Arizona is entitled to an exempt property allowance up to $7,000.  Exempt property includes household furniture, automobiles, furnishings, appliances, and personal effects. AZ Rev. Stat. section 14-2403.
  • Family Allowance:  An Arizona surviving spouse also has the right to a family allowance for maintenance during the period of administration, or, for up to one year if the estate is insolvent.  These amounts are payable from the decedent’s separate property and share of community property.  AZ Rev. Stat. section 14-2404.

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