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Written By: Stefany Funes
Disinheritance Terms In A Will, When Should They Be Changed?
A will is the bucket list of the afterlife. In that document remains the last wishes and desires of an individual that are to be accomplished by a court. However, sometimes these wishes are perceived as unfair, especially in cases about disinheritance of spouses or children, which are thought to be just for change. In a will, these established wishes or terms about disinheritance should be subject to change by a court depending on the laws of the state, unless particular and veridical circumstances should entail an opposition to the proposed alternation.
When trying to change disinherit terms of a spouse or children, knowing which possessions cannot be distributed in a will is essential. The distribution of assets such as, life insurance proceeds, property held in joint tenancy, or property held in living trusts cannot be controlled by the desires established in a will (Estate Administration). Something that can be turned into ones favor if alternating this particular wishes is the goal. It is also of great importance to be aware of the laws of the state. In the United States, disinheritance of a wife or husband in a will does not present a lot legal conflict due to the certain laws that dictate each spouse is rightfully entitled to a portion of the property acquired during marriage. This automatic ownership of one – half interest of the martial property can only take place in Community Property States such as Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Alaska; although prenuptial agreements can change the inherit portion (Inheritance Laws and Your Rights). When attempting disinheritance through this medium, if the individual lives in such states, he or she can use that established law in their favor. Therefore, the terms of disinheritance in a will can be, and should be subject to a less conflictive change.
However, in the remaining states of the U.S each spouse is not immediately entitled to the ownership of acquired property once married. These places are known as the Common Law States, where ownership is determined by the name on the title or by figuring out which spouse’s income purchased the property (Inheritance Laws and Your Rights). In the case one of the spouses passes away unexpectedly, in order to protect the surviving spouse, they lawfully inherit one – third of the property. On the other hand, if the possible death of the spouse is already known, it could be the case that he or she mandates in a will, that the surviving spouse inherit less than the one – third. This can only be done if both of them agree on doing so. Nevertheless, if the surviving spouse changes their mind after the agreement because they are now facing veridical need of those assets, changing the disinheritance terms in a will can turn difficult. This is why surviving spouses should have the right to changing the terms established in a will.
However, particular circumstances should entail opposition to changing the deceased spouse’s will. In the case that the surviving spouse has participated in domestic abuse, which can be either physical and or psychological harm, or has financially abused their partner, then they should not be able to make alternations to disinheritance terms. If there are reasons of this kind to why the surviving spouse should not acquire any properties, then these justifications should have been previously reported by the deceased spouse.
The justification for certain laws cannot always be clear-cut. Sometimes there has to be exceptions due to the many circumstances that could happen in life, and when it comes down to topics like disinheritance, these different life situations should be taken into account. That is why disinheritance terms in a will should be subject to change in accordance to the state laws, but these terms should also be protected in particular and justified occasions.
- “Inheritance Laws and Your Rights.” FindLaw, http://estate.findlaw.com/wills/inheritance-law-and-your-rights.html.
- “Estate Administration: The Will After Death.” FindLaw, http://estate.findlaw.com/estate-administration/estate-administration-the-will-after-death.html