Year’s Support Award
Despite its misleading name, a year’s support award is a permanent award of property from a decedent’s estate to the decedent’s surviving spouse, surviving minor children, or both. The surviving spouse of the decedent can apply for year’s support unless he or she has remarried after the decedent’s death. The decedent’s minor child(ren) may apply for year’s support if the following conditions are met:
- A child must be under age 18
- The child must not be married
- The child must be the child of the decedent (this includes adopted children or children born out of wedlock but does not include stepchildren of the decedent)
A minor child’s parent, legal guardian, or guardian ad litem may file on behalf of the child. In most cases, year’s support may be granted whether or not the decedent had a will.
Filing for Year’s Support
In order to receive year’s support, the spouse or children must file a petition within 24 months of the day that the decedent died. The petitioner should use Standard Form 10: Petition for Year’s Support. The standard forms are available at the courthouse or online at the official statewide Probate Court website. This petition must be filed in the probate court of the county in which the decedent was domiciled at death.
After the petition is filed, the probate court will publish notice of the filing of the petition in the county newspaper. The court will also mail a copy of the petition to certain interested parties identified in the petition. If any of these persons are minors or incapacitated adults, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem.
If any objections to the petition are filed, the probate court will hold a hearing to determine how much property, if any, will be awarded as year’s support. If no objection is filed, the probate court will award the property requested in the petition. The probate court may make separate awards of property to the surviving spouse and to the minor children.