The Purpose of a Family Allowance
Under Florida Probate law, a family allowance is an amount of money granted by the courts to a deceased person’s surviving spouse and supported children (lineal heirs) for maintenance (living expenses, emergency expenses, or family expense) during the probate administration process. The maximum amount allowable by the courts is $18,000, which can be paid in lump sum or in periodic installments.
If there is a surviving spouse, the spouse is entitled to receive the money for them self and any surviving minor/dependent children. If there are only surviving minor/dependent children, the children or their custodians are entitled to receive the family allowance. Adult children are not entitled to the family allowance.
A claim for a family allowance can be filled at any time during the pendency of the administration of the estate; however, the claim must be for a reasonable amount. You are not required to show that you are in financial need of the amount you claim. The court does have the discretion and can inquire into the reasonableness of the award.
The amount paid in the family allowance cannot be offset against the share otherwise passing to the surviving spouse unless the Will provides otherwise. The death of any person entitled to a family allowance terminates the right to that part of the allowance not paid.