Rights of a Surviving Spouse in Ohio

Little boy having fun with his grandparents in park

In Estate of Dorothy M. Cvanciger, an Eleventh District court case decided in October 2015, the Court found that a surviving spouse was entitled to his statutory allowance for temporary support of $40,000 following his wife’s death, despite the executrix’s assertion that the surviving spouse waived his allowance by not filing a motion within five months of the executrix’s appointment.  The Court found that unlike other rights of a surviving spouse under Ohio law, a surviving spouse does not waive the right to an allowance for temporary support by not exercising the right within the five month limitation period.

It is important to note that while the statutory allowance for temporary support cannot be waived through inaction by a surviving spouse, other rights of a surviving spouse in Ohio can be waived. The following is a list of some of those rights.

  • The right to up to 2 automobiles not to exceed value of $40,000 for both. The cost of the lesser valued automobile will be deducted from $40,000 allowance.
  • The right to 1 boat and engine, if any.
  • The right to “purchase” personal property at its appraised value.
  • The right to “purchase” the mansion home.
  •  The right to “purchase” real property (not the mansion house).
  • The right to elect against the Will to receive his or her statutory portion rather than the bequest set forth in the Will, if any.
  • The right to remain in the family residence free of charge for 1 year following death.

It is important for a surviving spouse to know her rights and to exercise them in a timely manner or risk losing important benefits.

For more information on the rights of a surviving spouse and how to timely exercise those rights, contact a Cleveland Probate Lawyer.