How The “Year’s Allowance” Helps After A Spouse’s Death

The death of a spouse can be devastating for many people. The emotional and financial struggles that come with the loss are very difficult to handle, especially in the early days after their passing. However, one thing you should not neglect is your finances.

If your spouse was responsible for handling all of the family’s finances before they passed away, it may be hard to manage everything on your own. This blog post will go over the benefits of the “year’s allowance” after a spouse’s death so you can make sure to take care of yourself and your children financially while going through a difficult time.

The Year’s Allowance In North Carolina

The spousal allowance (or “year’s allowance”) is an allowance that one receives from the deceased spouse’s estate after the death of the spouse. It is typically given in the form of a lump sum or the assignment of certain assets, such as vehicles titled in the name of the deceased spouse.

This type of assistance can help widowed spouses with the financial burdens they may be facing, such as bills and mortgage payments. Widows can invest their spousal allowance in any way they want, depending on what is going to be most beneficial for them financially.

In 2021, the spousal allowance in North Carolina provides for up to $60,000 from the estate to help in the transition, whether they died with or without a will (intestate).

Do Children Get Anything For A Year’s Allowance?

The dependent allowance is a form of financial support given to children after the death of their father or mother. The allowance can be in the form of money, assets, property, and so on.

The purpose for this type of financial support is twofold: to replace parental income and to provide quick access to funds. In 2021, the dependent allowance in North Carolina allows for quick access of up to $5,000 per dependent.

Children qualify for a dependent allowance if they are:

  • Under the age of 18 years old, OR
  • Under the age of 22 years old and attending a higher education institution, OR
  • Under the age of 21 years old and declared mentally incompetent or totally disabled

A child can be excluded from eligibility, however, if the child is born out of wedlock, except in very specific instances provided in the law.

How Long Does A Surviving Spouse Have to Claim the Spousal Allowance?

A surviving spouse has 12 months from the time of their spouse’s death to claim this benefit.

As long as the surviving spouse applies for the spousal and/or dependent allowance within one year of the deceased spouse’s death, the executor of the estate is responsible for providing access to the assets or funds. If the executor fails to act within 10 days of the request, however, the surviving spouse (or their attorney) can apply directly to the clerk of court using this form:

Application And Assignment Year’s Allowance | North Carolina Judicial Branch

Can A Spouse Lose Their Qualification For The Spousal Allowance?

Yes, but such instances are considerably limited. If the surviving spouse does not want or require the allowance, they may waive their rights to it by making a decision after their spouse’s death.  The right may have been waived in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.  Or, the surviving spouse may be disqualified to claim an allowance in one of the following ways:

  • They pleaded or were found guilty of killing the deceased spouse and were deemed a “slayer” under North Carolina’s slayer laws.
  • If the deceased spouse and the surviving spouse were legally separated at the time of the deceased spouse’s death.
  • If the surviving spouse was living in adultery at the time of the deceased spouse’s death.
  • If the surviving spouse is deemed to have “willfully abandoned” the deceased spouse prior to the deceased spouse’s death.
  • If the marriage between the deceased spouse and the surviving spouse is determined to be invalid.

Contact Our Estate Planning Professionals Today

The spousal allowance can be a lifesaver after the death of a spouse. You need money to help in the first year after your partner’s death, and this is one way you can get it quickly.

David Anderson and his team know how to work with probate proceedings so that you’re able to receive the funds from your deceased spouse’s estate without any delays or issues. Contact us today for a consultation on how we can help ensure you are protected after the death of a spouse.

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