Family Allowance: Rights of Spouses and Minor Children

It is not uncommon for one spouse to earn all or most of a family’s income. This is particularly common in situations in which a husband or wife stays home to care for minor children. However, in the unfortunate event of the death of an income-providing spouse, this arrangement can leave surviving family members unable to meet their financial obligations. Luckily, California provides certain family members with a means of providing for their necessities following the death of a provider: The Family Allowance.

The Family Allowance

When a family’s primary provider dies, the surviving spouse, registered domestic partner, minor children or adult children who are incapacitated and were dependent on the decedent may petition the court for what is known as a Family Allowance. Decedent’s parents and adult children who were dependent on the decedent (but not incapacitated) may also be entitled to a Family Allowance, subject to the court’s discretion. The Family Allowance provides certain family members with funds for a period of time following such an event.

When granted by the court, the Family Allowance may remain in effect through the conclusion of the probate process, depending on the circumstances. This allowance is usually retroactive to the spouse’s date of death. The Family Allowance may terminate early if a surviving spouse remarries or any minor children reach adulthood prior to the conclusion of the probate process.

If you are facing financial difficulties following the death of a family member, it is in your best interest to discuss your options with an experienced Los Angeles probate attorney such as the highly reputable and caring professionals at Keystone Law Group, P.C. For further information or to schedule a consultation please contact us at 310-444-9060 or visit