Petition for Family Allowance

A "Petition for Family Allowance" is a legal document filed with a Probate Court to request financial support for the Surviving Family members of a deceased person.

The purpose of a Family Allowance is to provide immediate financial assistance to the spouse, Minor children, or other Dependents of the deceased during the Probate process, because it may take time before the Estate's Assets are fully Distributed.

Key points related to a Petition for Family Allowance include:

Estate Administration: When a person passes away, the process of settling their estate includes addressing various financial matters, such as paying Debts, taxes, and expenses, and distributing the remaining assets to Beneficiaries.

Immediate Financial Support: A family allowance is designed to provide essential financial support to surviving family members who may be financially dependent on the deceased and may not receive their Inheritance for many months, or years, due to the speed of the probate process. This could include the deceased's spouse, minor children, or other dependents.

Petition Contents: The Petition for Family Allowance outlines the relationship between the petitioner (usually a surviving family member) and the deceased, explains the financial needs of the family members, and provides evidence of their dependence on the deceased's income or resources.

Approval by the Court: The court reviews the petition to determine whether the request for a family allowance is reasonable and warranted. The court's primary consideration is the financial needs of the surviving family members.

Duration and Amount: The court may grant a family allowance for a specified period, often during the probate process, to help cover essential living expenses. The amount of the allowance is determined based on the individual circumstances of the family and the available estate assets.

Notification: Interested Parties, such as beneficiaries and Creditors, may be notified of the petition and have the opportunity to voice their opinions or Contest the allowance request.

Oversight: The court may oversee the distribution of the family allowance to ensure that it is used for its intended purpose.

Impact on Estate Distribution: The family allowance is typically considered a priority expense and is granted before other claims against the estate are satisfied. However, the allowance might affect the distribution of assets to other beneficiaries.

The specific procedures and laws for filing a Petition for Family Allowance vary by state and so it's best to work with an Estate Attorney or Probate Attorney when petitioning for a family allowance.