Can You Disinherit Your Spouse?
Sometimes, probate attorneys become associated with cases where their clients request their assistance in preparing wills that will offer their partners extremely little of their estates or nothing at all. Probate legal representatives might also end up being associated with cases representing partners who receive nothing through disinheritance.
This can happen for a number of reasons. Typically, in bad marriages, a partner might use his will as a method of “getting even” or exacting some type of revenge versus his better half. Other times, a wife may have wanted to declare divorce but ended up being too ill to do so or did not have the wherewithal to take part in a costly legal divorce fight. Whatever the reasons might be, clients might often ask if it is legally possible to disinherit a spouse.
Because lots of state probate laws originate from the English common law and the Uniform Probate Code, the answer that attorneys might provide to their curious customers is “possibly.” It is not possible to totally disinherit your partner by composed will, given that lots of state statutes, including the Iowa Probate Code, make it difficult to disinherit your partner entirely.
Wait– shouldn’t you have a right to disinherit specific beneficiaries, including your spouse? At common law, your partner was entitled to a dower or curtsey. Usually, a dower includes real estate, however state legislatures broadened the typical law rights of dower to include individual property. The thinking for this may originate from the legal view that both spouses similarly contributed to their marital property. The rights of elective or forced shares embody this idea of common or marital property rights.
In Iowa, Area 633.236 of the Iowa Probate Code particularly states that a married spouse can not disinherit his partner completely through a composed will. If you draft a will and leave your partner absolutely nothing or reasonably little, your partner has a right to ask for an elective share pursuant to the Iowa Probate Code. The practical result is that your partner has a right to claim her share under your will as prepared or demand an alternate or elective share. Both spouses ought to understand their legal probate rights by arranging a legal consultation as soon as possible.