Rights of Surviving Spouse

When a spouse passes away in the State of Ohio the surviving spouse  is entitled to certain rights under Ohio Rev. Code ­§2106.  What this means is that a spouse cannot disinherit you under their Will.  Each of the following rights are available to you through the Probate Court in the County your spouse lived in, but there is a time frame that you must follow to elect each of these rights.  It is important to contact an attorney who understands each of these rights and the time frame to elect them so that you can properly receive what you are entitled to under Ohio law as a surviving spouse.

Below is a summary of these rights:

Election to Take Against the Will

  1. If you are a beneficiary under your spouse’s Will, but do not like the share you are going to receive, you can elect to take against the Will
  2. If you Elect to Take Against the Will, you are entitled to ½ of your spouse’s net estate, unless there are two or more of your spouse’s children or their lineal descendants surviving, in which case you are entitled to 1/3 of your spouse’s estate

Right to Receive Mansion House

  1. Depending on the value of the whole estate, you may have the right to receive the real property in the estate as part of your inheritance

Right to Place Charge on Real Estate

  1. If there is no Will and there is not enough money in the estate to pay your share of the estate, you have the right to place a lien upon any real property in the estate to pay for your unpaid share

Allowance for Support

  1. You may be entitled to $40,000 as spousal support; if there are minor children of the decedent this amount will be apportioned by the Probate Court between the spouse and minor children

Right to Remain in the Mansion House

  1. You have the right to remain in the real property owned by your spouse for a period of one year after your spouse’s date of death

Right to Purchase Property

  1. You have the right to purchase assets of the estate at the appraised values

Right to Automobiles

  1. You may be entitled to receive two automobiles that are not specifically bequeathed to others and that do not value more than $40,000

Right to Watercraft and Outboard Motor

  1. You may be entitled to receive one watercraft and one outboard motor that are not specifically bequeathed

Right to Reimbursement of Funeral Bill

  1. You may be entitled to reimbursement for the payment of the funeral bill

 Right to Challenge Antenuptial or Separation Agreement

  1. You can file an action to contest the validity of an antenuptial or separation agreement

All of these rights can be taken but they each must be elected by the surviving spouse within the specific time frame or they will be lost.  Again, it is important that you contact an attorney who has experience in probate to help you through this process to make sure you are electing the proper rights.  Contact Manning & Manning Co., L.P.A. at 440-266-0700 to assist you.