Is disinheriting a spouse possible?

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2021 | Estate Planning

Estate planning takes into account a spouse if you have one. If you die without a will, which leaves you with an intestate estate, Michigan state law defaults your possessions or financial assets to a living spouse. Disinheriting a spouse, though difficult, is possible if you plan ahead.

Making your actual decision

Estate planning includes making a clear decision on what a spouse gets. The clearest path to disinheriting a spouse is to have them agree to the disinheritance. This might sound tense, and it is, so you have to decide if breaking the news is appropriate or not. Of course, you still have the right to remain silent while you find other ways to protect your assets.

Prenuptials and postnuptials

Prenuptial agreements occur before a marriage while postnuptials happen after the wedding. With a postnuptial agreement, you stand the risk of asking a spouse during a major conflict or life change. Having this type of agreement prior to marriage is only valid when in writing. Here are a few requirements for prenuptials done before the marriage:

  • Both sides’ financial assets are disclosed.
  • Both parties sign in person.
  • Your document is formatted like a deed.
  • Both sides agree voluntarily.

Protecting your assets from probate

Estate owners who are determined to keep their assets from a spouse have probate to defend against. During probate, any assets that are untitled or without a trust are open to debate, so to speak. During your estate planning, you need to manage your assets in a way that keeps them from probate, such as by putting them in a trust. Your spouse then has no access to them.

Writing a will that disinherits your spouse from the property that’s solely in your name may be possible by writing a will. Creating a trust to hold this property and designating a beneficiary may also prevent your spouse from inheriting it.