Widow's Allowance

DEFINITION of 'Widow's Allowance'

An allowance of funds and/or personal property received by a widow after her husband's death to meet her immediate requirements. The amount of the allowance is decided by statute or court and is meant to protect the widow and family of a deceased person from financial hardship during administration of the deceased's estate.

BREAKING DOWN 'Widow's Allowance'

The amount of the widow's allowance is either fixed by statute or, more commonly, determined by probate court on the basis of the deceased person's estate and the family's standard of living. Under most circumstances, the widow's allowance is likely to be higher if the deceased was wealthy and left behind a large estate than if the family had a modest standard of living and the size of the estate is modest.