“Can I disinherit my spouse?” is a question that a lot of high-asset individuals ask, whether they are engaged or contemplating divorce. This is understandable since the modern family has changed significantly over the years. Today, same-sex marriage, second and third marriages, and blended families are increasingly becoming the “norm,” and we’re only scratching the surface.
There are many other types of modern families that break away from the traditional way of raising a family 50 years ago. Often, a wealthy individual would prefer to see their money go to children from a previous relationship or to a favorite charity, especially when their spouse has significant assets of their own.
Simply Writing a Will Isn’t Enough
What if you are married or getting married and you want to disinherit your spouse? Surely, you have a personal reason that has merit. Society tends to believe that all you have to do is write a will or create a trust and you can dictate who inherits your property after you pass away, however, it’s not that simple.
You may not be aware of it, but in most states, it’s virtually impossible to disinherit a spouse unless your fiancé or spouse willingly agrees to it in writing by drafting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. But that’s not the end of it.
There are laws that govern a spouse’s property rights when their husband or wife dies; these are either covered under “community property” or right of election laws depending on the state. Under Nevada’s community property laws, a surviving spouse is entitled to one-half of the couple’s community property, however, before the deceased spouse dies, he or she is free to bequeath their half of the community property to whoever they want through a will or revocable living trust.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, we invite you to contact Ford & Friedman to explore your legal options. We can be reached at (702) 904-9898.