How the Uniform Disposition of Community Property Rights at Death Act Affects Spousal Maintenance

In New York, a court will decide if spousal maintenance (“alimony”) should be extended to a former spouse’s estate. Marital property part of a decedent’s estate is only considered an asset of the former spouse if no other heir or beneficiary is designated in a written will. Division of marital property and major assets are a considerable decision in the distribution of resources during a divorce proceeding. Court award of finance and other property assets during a divorce is the result of judicial review. A range of factors are considered before a court issues an order for spousal maintenance. Rules to Special controlling conditions to division of property and spousal maintenance stipulated in New York Consolidated Statutes, Art. 13 §236. The same rule applies to award of estate assets.


New York Estate Laws and Marital Property

The adoption of the Uniform Disposition of Community Property Rights at Death Act of 1971 in New York legislation, recognizes community property rules to addressing equitable distribution at time of one ex-spouses death  (Estates, Powers and Trusts Laws §§6-6.1, et seq.). The Act preserves community property ownership rights of spouses that have moved from a community property state to New York, a non-community property state.


New York is an equitable division state where property is concerned. Equitable division refers to the sustained standard of living of both spouses after divorce, and in the case of spousal maintenance payments, post-death of the spouse paying alimony. The same legal principle of spousal equity extends to property deemed to be “marital property” now part of one spouse’s trust.   


Spousal maintenance is calculated according to acquisition-cost of those resources during the marital union. The value of an asset is weighted against future value, as well as such inheritance from other sources in the original award of spousal maintenance. Estate litigation is often focused on similar review of assets in correspondence with a plaintiff filing a petition, and the assignment of value to the assets listed in the claim in question.


Are You Seeking Rights to Marital Property Part of an Estate?

Marital property rights of a spouse designated spousal maintenance at the time of divorce are a serious consideration when a former spouse dies. A decedent’s estate may contain valuable assets now part of a trust. A licensed attorney at law specializing in Estate Law can assist in securing the beneficiary rights an ex-spouse is entitled to under law. Ettinger Law Firm is an attorney practice dedicated to estate planning. Contact Ettinger Law Firm for a consultation about a probate matter concerning spousal maintenance.

Contact Information