Family advocacy is one of the top priorities for our probate lawyer team at Lyons Sullivan. In certain cases where they are not provided for in the decedent’s Will or the estate would otherwise go to pay creditor claims, the surviving spouse or, when there is no surviving spouse, minor children may petition the court for an award from the property of the decedent.  Such an award can continue during the term of the probate.  This family allowance statute treats the spouse and children as general creditors of the estate with priority over all other creditors.  Only the funeral expenses, expenses of last sickness, and expenses of administration come ahead of the family allowance. This can be a great benefit to the family if the decedent’s estate is otherwise insolvent. The award is discretionary with the court and the amount depends on the circumstances and needs of the family. There are technical requirements and deadlines as well. The award may be made from either the community or separate property of the decedent.  The amount of the “basic” award is $125,000, which may be increased or decreased in the court’s discretion.  The professionals at Lyons Sullivan can provide legal advice and represent families in petitioning for a family allowance.