A surviving spouse has many rights under the probate law. In many cases, the spouse can avoid probate completely. Property that was held by the spouse and the deceased in joint tenancy or as community property will not require a full probate proceeding. Joint tenancy property can be transferred to the surviving spouse when an attorney prepares and files a special affidavit. Community property can be transferred to the surviving spouse by having an attorney obtain a 'community property set aside' from the court. When a full probate proceeding is required, the surviving spouse is entitled to a family allowance for support during the process. In addition, the surviving spouse has the right to be the administrator of an estate where no will was left and has priority over all other relatives. For more information about the rights of a surviving spouse, please contact an attorney.