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Can you completely disinherit your spouse?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2024 | Estate Planning, Probate And Trust Administration, Trusts, Wills

Although uncommon, it sometimes happens. Someone is putting together their estate plan and, as part of their will, they choose to leave their spouse out of their will completely. This is called disinheritance.


First, let’s discuss disinheritance. This term means that someone intentionally leaves a person out of their will. The intent is that the person receives nothing after the person with the inheritance passes away.

Spousal rights in Florida

Florida is unusual in that, with spouses, the state gives them certain rights to protect them from being completely cut out of their will.

In practical terms, this means that even if you try to leave your spouse out of your will, they can claim a portion of your estate. This share, called the elective share, is usually about 30%, regardless of what your will says.

Exceptions to spousal rights

Now, there are exceptions to the rule. For example, if the couple agreed that the spouse would receive nothing and waived the right to their elective share clearly in a prenuptial agreement or another contract, they may claim nothing from your estate.

It does not happen often, but when it does, there are tools to keep control over what goes to whom. You can set up a trust, give away your property before you pass away, and designate beneficiaries.

However, even in those cases, it is likely that if you intentionally leave your spouse out of your will and do not leave them anything in its place, the law will allow them to claim their elective share.

Seek legal advice

Although completely disinheriting your spouse is not easy, seeking advice from an attorney can help you create an estate plan that more closely resembles what you want.

Estate planning attorneys know that family dynamics are complicated. We are not here to judge. Our goal is to support your choices and ensure that we carry out your wishes as smoothly as possible.