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

Kansas surviving spouses have important rights under Kansas probate laws, including:

  • Homestead Exemption
  • Intestate Share
  • Monetary Allowance
  • Elective Share
  • Exempt Property

The more informed a surviving spouse is about these widow’s rights, the less daunting probate will be.

Surviving Spouse Rights In Kansas When There Is No Valid Will

When someone dies without a valid will in Kansas, they have died intestate.  A surviving spouse has the right to a share of the deceased spouse’s estate.  The amount of the surviving spouse’s share depends on who else survived the decedent.

  • Entire Estate:  The surviving spouse has the right to the entire intestate estate if the decedent has no surviving issue. K.S. 59-504.
  • 1/2 of the Estate:  The surviving spouse is entitled to 1/2 of the estate if the decedent had surviving issue.
  • Real property:  The surviving spouse is entitled to 1/2 of the decedent’s real property, disposition of which spouse did not consent to in writing, by will, or by election, provided that the spouse was a resident of Kansas at the time of conveyance. K.S. 59-505.

Elective Share Rights

The surviving spouse is also entitled to elect an elective share equal to the value of a percentage of the augmented estate.  The percentage to which the surviving spouse is entitled is based on the length of the surviving spouse’s marriage to the decedent:

Length of the Marriage

The Elective Share is:

Less than 1 years

Supplemental amount only

1 year but less than 2 years

3% of the augmented estate

2 years but less than 3 years

6% of the augmented estate

3 years but less than 4 years

9% of the augmented estate

4 years but less than 5 years

12% of the augmented estate

5 years but less than 6 years

15% of the augmented estate

6 years but less than 7 years

18% of the augmented estate

7 years but less than 8 years

21% of the augmented estate

8 years but less than 9 years

24% of the augmented estate

9 years but less than 10 years

27% of the augmented estate

10 years but less than 11 years

30% of the augmented estate

11 years but less than 12 years

34% of the augmented estate

12 years but less than 13 years

38% of the augmented estate

13 years but less than 14 years

42% of the augmented estate

14 years but less than 15 years

46% of the augmented estate

15 years or more

50% of the augmented estate

 K.S. 59-6a202.

Interesting fact – if the decedent and the surviving spouse were married to each other on more than one occasion all periods of marriage are added together.  That said, the period(s) between marriages are not counted for the purposes of determining the elective share.

If the sum of the amounts described in K.S.A. 59-6a207, subsection (a)(1) of K.S.A. 59-6a209 and that part of the elective-share amount payable from the decedent’s probate estate and nonprobate transfers to others under subsections (b) and (c) of K.S.A. 59-6a209 is less than $50,000, the surviving spouse is entitled to a supplemental elective-share amount equal to $50,000, minus the sum of the amounts described in those sections. The supplemental elective-share amount is payable from the decedent’s probate estate and from recipients of the decedent’s nonprobate transfers to others in the order of priority set forth in subsections (b) and (c) of K.S.A. 59-6a209.

The election by a surviving spouse to elect his or her elective share of the deceased spouse’s estate must be made within the later of six months after the date of the decedent’s death or six months after the notice for the right to the elective share. K.S. 59-6a211.

Surviving Spouse Allowances and Exemption

The surviving spouse in Kansas also has the right to exemptions and allowances under Kansas Law.

  • Homestead Exemption:  The surviving spouse has the right to a homestead exemption.  The homestead exemption is subject to location and acreage restrictions. K.S. 59-401
  • Exempt Property:  The surviving spouse is entitled to an allowance for exempt personal property.  K.S. 59-403
  • Monetary Allowance:  The surviving spouse also has the right to a monetary allowance of up to $50,000.  K.S. 59-404

If the surviving spouse exercises his or her right of election, the surviving spouse’s homestead allowance, and family allowance, if any, are not charged against but are in addition to the elective-share and supplemental elective-share amounts.  K.S.A. § 59-6a202.