Effective Oct. 1, 2011, the share of an intestate estate (where one dies without a will) going to a surviving spouse may increase. Under existing law, the surviving spouse was entitled to one-half of his or her spouse’s probate estate if the spouse died without a will, with a “bonus” of $60,000 if all of the surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse. Under the new law, the surviving spouse is entitled to the entire probate estate if all of the surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse, and if the surviving spouse has no other descendants. Otherwise, there would be no change in the law and the surviving spouse would be entitled to half of the probate estate. The intestacy laws only provide how your probate property will be distributed if you pass away with no will. By executing a will, you can choose who receives your property and under what terms, instead of leaving that decision to the state intestacy laws. Note that a surviving spouse is entitled to a minimum of an elective share absent a pre or post nuptial agreement.