Homestead Allowance and Exempt Property Claims

Tip – You may want to take Homestead Allowance and Exempt Property
claims into account when you do your estate plan.

Many people are not aware that Idaho law allows a surviving spouse to claim a Homestead Allowance and Exempt Property from the estate of a spouse who has passed away, in addition to any property that he or she will receive under the will.

Idaho Law states that the surviving spouse is entitled to a Homestead Allowance of $50,000.00 and to Exempt Property up to the value of $10,000 in tangible personal property—including automobiles, furniture, appliances, family heirlooms and personal effects—from the estate of his or her spouse at the spouse’s death.

This is significant in second marriages when one or both spouses have children from a prior marriage, and they want to ensure their children receive something from their estate. For example, a person may provide in a will that property goes to his or her children, but when the person passes away, the surviving spouse claims the Homestead Allowance and the Exempt Property, taking $60,000.00 from the estate that was intended to go to the children. In some cases, there may
not be sufficient assets left in the estate to make the distributions to the decedent’s children that were intended.

There is a way to limit the Homestead Allowance and Exempt Property claims. Idaho Code § 15-2-406 states that a person may state in his or her will, that a surviving spouse is not entitled to the Homestead Allowance or any Exempt Property. If the person states this in his or her will, it prevents the surviving spouse from making a Homestead or Exempt Property claim.

The bottom line is that with careful planning, you can draft your will, to make sure
your intent will be carried out.

View our “Senior’s Guide to a Well-Planned Future” on our website! Packer Elder Care Law – with you for life!

Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.

September 2022