The "Years Allowance" for spouses is intended to provide support for a surviving spouse during the year after the death of the deceased spouse, and has priority over creditors claims and other beneficiaries.
The allowance has been $10,000 for many years, which, of course, is a pitifully small amount these days. However, effective January 1, 2010, the amount will increase to $20,000.
Use of the Year’s Allowance is also helpful in avoiding the cost and time of a full probate proceeding in some cases.
Session Law 2009-183, amended North Carolina General Statutes Sections 30-15, 30-26 and 30-29.