NC Elective Share | Spousal Elective Share

As of October 1, 2013, North Carolina has significantly changed the elective share a surviving spouse can receive from the deceased spouse’s estate.

The “Elective Share” is the statutory amount that a surviving spouse may choose to take of their deceased spouse’s estate as an alternative to what was provided for him or her in the deceased spouse’s Last Will and Testament. Such election is not automatic and must be made within 6 months of issuing letters of administration. The Spousal Elective Share may be utilized if the Will leaves the spouse less than he or she would otherwise receive by statute.

The old North Carolina elective share was a formula based upon the number of children of the deceased and whether the children were from a prior marriage. The New NC elective share has been simplified and is now calculated ONLY upon the length of marriage.

New Elective Share Laws

If the surviving spouse was married to the decedent for the number of years listed as follows:

Married less than 5 years – Fifteen percent (15%)

Married at least 5 years but less than 10 years – Twenty-five percent (25%)

Married at least 10 but less than 15 years – Thirty-three percent (33%)

Married 15 years or more – Fifty percent (50%)

(Buy your spouse something nice on your 15th wedding anniversary, since you have reached the maximum elective share tier in North Carolina)

While the formula has been simplified, the need for ongoing estate planning remains crucial, since the passage of time will affect estate plans drafted under the old law or when one of the benchmark years of marriage is reached. The North Carolina elective share does not apply only to probate assets of the decedent but also certain property in which the decedent had a lifetime interest, which can make calculating the elective share cumbersome.

Elective Share Concerns?

If you have concerns about how the North Carolina elective share under the new law will affect your Estate Plan, contact a skilled estate planning lawyer for more information. Call Us at (704) 608-3429 or Email

Dedicated Fort Mill, SC Estate Planning Attorney

If you live in the Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Tega Cay, Charlotte, or York County area and want more information on setting up a Will or Trust, our Fort Mill, SC Estate Planning law firm is conveniently located to serve our local community. To find out more about South Carolina Estate Planning, schedule an appointing at our Fort Mill office for a free consultation. Contact our Fort Mill office today: (803) 608-9121.