Sometimes people want to leave their husband or wife completely out of their estate plan. But can you disinherit your spouse?
Last week we talked about disinheriting family members generally. Not that we’re in favor of it — in fact, few of our clients want to completely disinherit children or other close family members. But there is a lot of mythology about the topic. Do you have to leave $1 to anyone you want to disinherit? (Spoiler alert: no — in fact, it’s a bad idea.) Do you need to mention cousins, aunts, uncles and other more distant relatives? (Spoiler alert: generally, no — unless they are your closest relatives.)
But what about disinheriting your spouse? Can you arrange to leave nothing to your husband or wife?
The law varies widely from state to state. In Arizona, as we discuss, it might be easier to substantially disinherit your spouse than it is in many other states. But that’s really a product of Arizona being a community property state, and the assumptions written into Arizona law as a result.