Oklahoma estate planning and elder law attorneys can help you understand the rules associated with the creation of an effective estate plan. One such rule protects a surviving spouse from being disinherited. While the purpose of the rule is good natured, if your plan is to leave your wealth to children of a prior marriage or to individuals other than your spouse, you must be aware of rules and laws that could interfere with your plans for your legacy.
Parman & Easterday can provide you with the comprehensive advice you need to design a plan that allows your intended beneficiaries to receive your wealth without interference. We will work with you to accomplish your estate planning goals and ensure you understand how the law could derail your goals. Give us a call to find out more about how our legal team can assist you in designing a plan so your wealth does not end up in the hands of unintended individuals.
Can You Disinherit A Spouse?
You may have many legitimate reasons for not wanting your spouse to inherit some or all of your estate. A few common examples are the desire to leave money to children of a prior marriage or to provide for other family members.
If you, like many others, want to ensure your assets go to your children or provide for the care of a family member, instead of going to your spouse, you may be concerned that your intentions will not be carried out if you are the first to pass away. It is natural to worry that your surviving spouse may not honor your wishes with respect to the distribution of your assets. We have seen situations play out where the surviving spouse redirects the assets to someone other than the deceased person’s choosing.
Due to your concerns of predeceasing your spouse, you may consider transferring the assets to your children or family effective immediately after your death. As a result, you would prevent your spouse from having access to the assets, thereby disinheriting them.
However, Oklahoma law, through a concept called “statutory elective share,” makes it difficult to disinherit a spouse. As the Oklahoma Bar Association explains, a surviving spouse can choose to take the statutory elective share of estate assets in lieu of specific gifts.
In the event your spouse takes the statutory elective share, your spouse would receive a forced fractional share of your assets, even if your will explicitly provides for a much smaller amount for your spouse. As a result, a plan centered around a will may leave your intentions trumped by state law and your spouse with more than outlined in your plan.
Getting Help From Oklahoma City Elder Law Attorneys
While the spousal elective share exists to protect surviving spouses, it can make it difficult for you to craft an effective estate plan if your goal is to leave your wealth to someone other than your spouse. There are legal options and tools that can be used to ensure your assets go where you want, but you need more than a will if you are planning on disinheriting your spouse.
Parman & Easterday can help you to make an effective estate plan that gives you the power to control who inherits your wealth, even if that person is not your spouse. Give us a call today at (405) 843-6100 or contact us online to find out more about the ways in which our Oklahoma estate planning and elder law attorneys can assist you.