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Gregg R. Lewis
Trusted Family Law Services In Columbus

Can you disinherit your spouse before a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2019 | Post-divorce Estate Planning |

Going through a divorce in Ohio can be troubling enough without having to face the possibility that you might die or suffer a serious physical incapacitation before your divorce is finalized. To make sure you maintain control over your assets until your divorce is completed, you can dictate what happens to them in a will. Some people may even wonder if they can go ahead and fully disinherit their spouses from receiving any assets. However, this is a move that could carry legal risk.

As Forbes point out, most states will not allow you to completely cut off your former spouse from inheriting assets before a divorce is finalized. You would have to consult with your divorce attorney to know for certain if state law formally prohibits disinheriting a spouse or if Ohio case law would react negatively to disinheritance. However, cutting off your spouse would almost certainly increase the risk of your will being challenged in court and could also have ramifications for your divorce case.

Some spouses have no problem disinheriting an ex. They see it as a way of throwing down the gauntlet, to present a possible fight that the other spouse may find too troublesome, resulting in the spouse backing off. They may also want the other spouse to just go through the agony of fighting the will. However, in the event an Ohio judge rules against you, you would lose a percentage of your assets, and you might not have a say in which assets you would give up.

A more amicable approach is to learn what state law requires a divorced spouse to receive and make sure your will conforms to those standards. Daring a spouse to challenge your will could invite a fight that causes you to lose more than you intended. Once your divorce is complete and your assets have been divided, you can go back and change your will or other parts of your estate plan to better reflect your wishes.

Keep in mind that this article is written for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide any legal advice.



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