Spousal Rights And Election Against The Estate

Although it seems rather harsh to disinherit their spouse, some people may have to take this decision under certain circumstances. Spousal rights and election against the state has to be dealt with cautiously. Here’s a lowdown on the procedure:

When does a man or a woman disinherit their spouse?

There can be various reasons as to why a man or a woman may want to disinherit their spouse. If a person is separated from their spouse, it could automatically lead to disinheriting them from the estate. It also stands true for couples who are going through a divorce or are in a subsequent marriage.

However, at times it so happens that couples who are very much together may also go with this option of disinheriting their spouse, either in full or in part. In some situations, if a person has a family property or a family business that they want to keep on their side of the family, they may opt for this choice. Couples can also go with this choice if both the husband and the wife each own a good deal of property, and would not leave the property with the spouse for reasons associated with tax. A man or a woman may also shirk from giving their property to their spouse apprehending that they will spend it all. If a spouse is terminally ill, they may be disinherited from the estate.

The statute of limitation for filing a right of election by a spouse is six months after the estate executor has been nominated, which is why it is important for a client to discuss this issue with an experienced probate lawyer.

Spousal rights of elections against estates

In a scenario where a person decides to disinherit their spouse, the spouse may file a right of election against the estate. In this case, the value of property should be less than what is allowed by the law. The law entitles a spouse to an “elective share” of their deceased spouse’s estate. Its value is $50,000 or one third of the total value of the estate, whichever is greater.