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Navigation:  Home > Probate, Trusts, and Estate Law > Disinheritances


So, you want to disinherit someone, do you? Well, that may or may not be easy to do, depending on who you are trying to disinherit. If itís not your spouse or child, simply donít mention the person in your will.

However, if you are trying to disinherit a spouse or child, you are going to run into some difficulties. First off, you may be unable to disinherit your spouse at all. In many states, what is yours is also your spouses Ė he or she owns half of what you own in community property states, though you can certainly leave your half of the property and estate to someone else.

If you donít live in a community property state, then your spouse does not legally own half of what is yours. However, the laws in those states say that your spouse has a legal right to a portion of your estate even if he or she is not named in the will, assuming, of course, that your spouse challenges the will.

Hereís an example. Many states state that the spouse is entitled to one-third of your estate. If you die without naming your spouse in your will, he or she will automatically receive half or your estate. If you leave a will, and only leave your spouse, say, one-fifth of your estate, he or she can challenge the will to get what is legally his or hers Ė the one-third (or one-half, depending on the state).

As for a child, you can disinherit him or her if you specifically state that you are leaving the child out of the will. If you fail to mention the child at all, many state laws assume you forgot and simply grant that child his or her share. If this situation applies to you, I assume that your child did something terribly wrong to deserve disinheritance.

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