Can you leave your spouse out of your will?

On Behalf of | Dec 26, 2018 | Heirs & Beneficiaries |

In Minnesota, there can be estate situations in which a person wants to leave their spouse out of their will or other uncommon events. When this occurs, it is important that estate documents are drawn up correctly or there can be many complications among heirs.

Although it is uncommon, there are situations in which a person would want to disinherit their spouse. Disinheriting a spouse is not always because the spouses do not get along, but can be for financial reasons as well. A person may feel like their spouse has enough assets in their own name and a person would rather give the assets to other people. Or, a person wants to avoid an influx of estate taxes that could happen if their spouse’s estate gets too large.

In Minnesota, a person cannot disinherit their spouse through their will or trust alone. Minnesota law says that a spouse will receive a “spousal share” of the estate. Even if a will is written to give all of the money to charity, or beneficiaries named in life insurance and IRAs are the children, the spouse will receive certain rights for the house and other monthly support.

There are three ways in which a spouse can agree to not receive their share of their spouse’s estate. The first two are either a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement, in which a spouse agrees to forfeit certain property rights. The third way is through a consent sign on the will where a spouse accepts the terms of the will that completely disinherits him or her. Not every family is the same. Some may want to divide their assets in less traditional ways.