If you are planning to be near the end of life and on bad terms with your spouse, you might be considering how to make a plan to leave most of your assets to someone else. Here are some things to note in this situation.
When you design your will, it could spark a newfound reason to seek out a divorce. Divorce is one of the easiest ways to disinherit a spouse, although they will get some assets in the divorce instead. To seek out a cooperative divorce, let a divorce lawyer speak on your behalf. If the spouse is cooperative about divorce, you will be cooperative in creating a fair asset split for the divorce. Sometimes the immediate settlement is more attractive than a place in a will with an unknown outcome. If your partner is hesitant to cooperate about divorce, taking them to court and getting court assistance to resolve the matter could be a healthy option for you.
Separation is another option that's recognized as a legal split in some, but not all, states. Check with a lawyer from an office like DeSanto and Kellogg Law Office LLC to see if a separation would give you some leeway in designing your will as you please. The separation would have to be filed legally for it to count as a binding agreement.
Try to Disinherit Your Spouse
Disinheriting a spouse is a tricky thing, since spouses are legally allowed to claim whatever's in your estate; after all, it is half theirs in marriage. Ask your estate planning attorney if, and how, you can disinherit a spouse and make it binding.
Keep in mind that if your will is at odds with the law, a few things will probably happen. Say that you make a case for why your spouse should not inherit anything. You don't provide anything to them in your will. Well, if the spouse is smart, they will seek out their own lawyer and claim an elective share of the estate. That is usually a third of the estate's value. They can take this amount before the assets are distributed to the people named in your will, which means that these other people will get less of the estate than what you had planned. Still, this route is better than the spouse naturally inheriting 100% of the estate.
Hire a Good Lawyer
The key thing here is that a lawyer should act as your guarantor for an estate, especially when the last will and testament will likely be contested. A lawyer will be able to freeze the estate until a spouse and their legal counsel have spoken. The lawyer will negotiate with the spouse and provide what is legally obligated, while protecting most of your assets from someone you don't want to have them.