On May 22, 2016 the Governor signed into law the following provisions (which take effect August 1, 2016) which will put more money into the pocket of heirs:
- For 2nd marriage spouses, this will interest you. In cases where there is no Will or estate plan, you can now take $225,000 off the top of your deceased spouse’s estate rather than the previous $150,000. This occurs in those situations where there are children of a previous relationship. After taking the 1st $225,000 you then split the balance of the deceased spouse’s estate with the deceased spouse’s children.
- Again, in cases where there is no Will or estate plan, the surviving spouse may also take exempt property up to $15,000 instead of the previous $10,000.
- The “family allowance”, which is paid to the surviving spouse to provide for interim care, increased from $1,500 monthly to $2,300 monthly. This is paid from solvent estates for up to 18 months.
- For those attempting to bypass probate by using an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property, the threshold for that has been raised to $75,000 from its previous $50,000 limit. If an estate has a net value of less $75,000 and does not involve real estate, this document can keep you out of probate. See an estate planning lawyer for more details.
- And finally the threshold for summary administration increased to $150,000 from its previous $100,000 limit. Summary administration proceedings are quicker probates where the estate property is either all exempt or there are no known creditors. Other situations apply too. See an estate planning lawyer for more details.