Can You Disinherit Your Partner?

In some cases, probate attorneys end up being involved in cases where their clients request for their assistance in drafting wills that will offer their spouses extremely little of their estates or absolutely nothing at all. Probate legal representatives might also become included in cases representing partners who get nothing through disinheritance.

This can take place for a number of factors. Frequently, in bad marital relationships, a partner may utilize his will as a method of “getting even” or exacting some kind of vengeance versus his spouse. Other times, a wife may have desired to apply for divorce but ended up being too ill to do so or did not have the wherewithal to participate in an expensive legal divorce fight. Whatever the reasons may be, clients may typically ask if it is legally possible to disinherit a spouse.
Because numerous state probate laws stem from the English typical law and the Uniform Probate Code, the answer that attorneys might provide to their curious customers is “perhaps.” It is not possible to totally disinherit your spouse by composed will, because lots of state statutes, including the Iowa Probate Code, make it difficult to disinherit your partner entirely.

Wait– shouldn’t you have a right to disinherit particular beneficiaries, including your partner? At common law, your partner was entitled to a dower or curtsey. Generally, a dower involves real property, however state legislatures expanded the common law rights of dower to include personal effects. The reasoning for this may stem from the legal view that both partners similarly contributed to their marital property. The rights of elective or forced shares embody this concept of common or marital property rights.
In Iowa, Section 633.236 of the Iowa Probate Code particularly states that a married partner can not disinherit his spouse completely through a written will. If you draft a will and leave your partner nothing or fairly little, your spouse has a right to ask for an elective share pursuant to the Iowa Probate Code. The practical result is that your partner has a right to declare her share under your will as prepared or request an alternate or elective share. Both spouses must comprehend their legal probate rights by setting up a legal assessment as quickly as possible.