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Real Talk: Disinheriting a Spouse

For a myriad of personal reasons, some individuals choose to “disinherit a spouse” or simply put, not leave any assets to them. It could be because someone is remarried and intends to leave their assets to their children from a previous marriage or relationship; or is separated but has not filed for divorce for financial or religious reasons. No matter what the reason is, if your intent is to not leave assets to your spouse, you need to know the law. First, in Michigan, you cannot simply disinherit a spouse through a Will. Even if your Will states that all your assets go to your children, siblings, parents or a friend, a spouse is entitled to what the law calls an elective share, in addition to certain allowances. This simply means that they stand to receive SOMETHING. There are only certain exceptions to this rule. The most litigated exceptions are abandonment by the spouse or willful absence. And it’s not as easy to prove as one may think.


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