Wills trusts and estates covered

People are not generally allowed to cut spouse off from inheritance.

It is not a simple matter to disinherit your spouse, according to the Times Herald-Record in “A spouse’s inheritance rights no simple matter.”

The details vary by state, but a surviving spouse has the right to make what is known as a “spousal election.” This allows a spouse to elect to receive whatever is or is not given to her in the estate plan or to receive a certain percentage of the total assets of the estate. Commonly, this election is for between one-third and one-half in most states.

The reason for the rule is that people felt there was a duty to care for one’s own spouse and that it would be wrong to leave a widow destitute.

There are ways around the law, for example, if the spouses have entered a pre-nuptial agreement, but they are not ironclad.

An estate planning attorney can advise you on circumstances that may arise for a surviving spouse, as well as creating an estate plan that fits your particular circumstances.

Reference: Times Herald-Record (Aug. 31, 2017) “A spouse’s inheritance rights no simple matter.”

For more information on asset preservation and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.