Under New York law, your surviving spouse automatically has a right to a portion of your estate regardless of what your will may say. This is known as the right of election.
Generally, the share of your surviving spouse in New York is one-third of your estate if you have a child, or one-half, if you have no surviving children. Your surviving spouse gets the minimum even if you say otherwise. However, the New York right of election is not set in stone. Couples can agree to eliminate right of election through a prenuptial agreement.