Estate planning can be a complicated affair. That may very well be on the shortlist of the biggest understatements in law, but it’s nonetheless true. However, not only can the whole ordeal be complex, but it can get messy, too. How? Well, you would know if you ever thought about disinheriting a spouse.
For some, it may seem like an inconceivable notion, but for others making sure a spouse can’t lay claim to certain assets or property can be a necessary act of love. For example, if someone dies with a child from a previous marriage, they may want to ensure that the child benefits from their estate by disinheriting a spouse. Likewise, if someone felt their spouse would squander the inherited assets, they might want to disinherit the spouse in favor of their children or other loved ones.
Simply put, people have their reasons for desiring to cut a spouse out of their will. So far, though, we’ve only been talking about that desire – is it actually possible to disinherit a spouse?
Elective Share in Oklahoma
Grand schemes to leave a spouse penniless by disinheriting them spawned statutes in Oklahoma that make it harder to leave a spouse out of a will and almost impossible to preclude their right to half of the marriage’s property. While these laws can protect a spouse from spiteful actions with serious financial consequences, it does close the door a bit on someone’s ability to act with regard for other loved ones.
Under state law, you cannot leave more than half of the property acquired and shared by you and your spouse during marriage to someone other than that spouse. The half that belongs to your spouse is often referred to as their elective share, and they can claim it in court if they feel your will is leaving them with less than 50 percent of the marriage’s combined assets.
All of this is to say that yes, you can technically splice up your half of your marriage’s assets almost however you like in a will, but it’s only half of your marital property and it’s not a bullet-proof plan. Because your spouse can claim a stake in marital property left to someone else, mileage will vary if you intend to leave any of it to someone else – and you won’t be around to intervene.
Likewise, if you’re a spouse and your husband or wife tried to give away all of your marriage’s property in their will, you can intercede to claim at least half of it and thwart their bad faith attempt to give away your property.
Your Advocates During Probate
If you’re a spouse who’s been left an unfair portion of your marital property in a will, or if you’re a beneficiary who’s facing a legal challenge to your inheritance from someone’s spouse, Bundren Law Firm P.C. appreciates how sensitive and complicated this matter will be to sort out.
When you work with our firm through the probate of a loved one’s estate, we’ll relentlessly pursue your best interests. If you need to challenge an unfair will or another beneficiary, we can litigate matters such as these and more for you.
Our firm is knowledgeable of state-specific statutes concerning probate, and we combine that know-how with years of experience helping clients like you to deliver strategies that can lead to your best possible outcome.
To learn more about our probate practice or to schedule a consultation, contact Bundren Law Firm P.C online or call (918) 992-3300.