Surviving spouses in North Dakota are entitled to many important rights and benefits, including:
- Homestead Allowance
- Exempt Property
- Family Allowance
- Elective Share
Surviving Spouse Rights in North Dakota When There Is No Valid Will
When a decedent dies without a valid will, they have died intestate. When someone dies intestate, the laws of North Dakota will control the disposition of their probate assets. The surviving spouse’s share (also known as the widow’s share) of the estate depends on the decedent’s other survivors.
Surviving Spouse Entitled To Entire Estate
If the decedent had no surviving descendant or parent, or all of the decedent’s descendants are descendants of the surviving spouse and the surviving spouse has no separate descendants, then the surviving spouse is entitled to the entire estate.
Surviving Spouse Entitled To Partial Share of Estate
If the decedent was survived by descendants or other survivors, the surviving spouse is entitled to part of the intestate estate, as follows:
- Survived by parents but no descendants: If the decedent is survived by parents, but not by descendants, the surviving spouse is entitled to $300,000 plus 3/4 of the balance of the intestate estate.
- Survived by descendants that are descendants of the surviving spouse and surviving spouse has separate surviving descendants: If the decedent and the surviving spouse have joint surviving descendants, and the surviving spouse has separate surviving descendants, then the surviving spouse is entitled to $225,000 plus 1/2 the balance of the estate.
- Survived by one or more descendants who are not descendants of the surviving spouse: If the decedent is survived by one or more descendants that are not share descendants with the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse has the right to $150,000 plus 1/2 the balance of the estate.
Surviving Spouse’s Right To An Elective Share – Election Against The Will
Surviving Spouse Allowances and Exemptions Under North Dakota Law
A surviving spouse has the right to certain allowances and exemptions provided by North Dakota law. These rights include:
- Homestead allowance up to $100,000
- Exempt property up to $15,000
- Reasonable maintenance allowance during administration, or up to one year if the estate is insolvent.