As you mourn the loss of your spouse, you also have to deal with the financial consequences of his death. You may have your own income or assets, and your spouse may have provided for you in his will. Yet, if your spouse was considerably wealthier than you, then what your spouse left you might not be enough. You may be entitled to more.
A Marital Portion May Apply
In Louisiana, a surviving spouse may receive a marital portion of a deceased spouse’s estate if the deceased spouse died “rich” in comparison to the surviving spouse. As the surviving spouse, you should know that:
- Your income and earning capacity are irrelevant to the marital portion determination.
- There is no definitive test to determine when one spouse is rich compared to the other spouse. Therefore, it is essential to discuss the possibility of a marital portion with an experienced Louisiana succession lawyer.
- The amount of the succession that becomes the marital portion is dependent on the deceased spouse’s number of kids. Generally, a surviving spouse may recover one-fourth of the succession in ownership if the deceased spouse had no kids, one-fourth of the succession in usufruct for life if the deceased spouse had three or fewer kids, or the equivalent of a child’s share in usufruct if the deceased spouse had more than three kids. A usufruct for life gives you the right to use the property during your lifetime.
- The marital portion will be reduced by the legacy already provided to you by your spouse and any payments that are due because of your spouse’s death, such as Social Security or life insurance benefits.
- The marital portion is currently capped at $1 million.
- The marital portion belongs only to you and is non-inheritable.
Decisions about whether a marital portion should apply and the value of a marital portion should be part of formal succession proceedings. To make sure that your rights are protected, please contact SVHC law today. Our experienced succession lawyers will review all aspects of your spouse’s succession and make sure that you are treated fairly.