Can you disinherit your spouse in an Illinois will?

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Can you disinherit your spouse in an Illinois will?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2021 | Divorce

Marriage is a complex legal commitment. It is often a religious one as well. Not everyone in an unhappy marriage will choose to divorce even if divorce has become more socially acceptable. 

People can grow apart from their spouses over time or can drastically damage their relationships with their spouses through various kinds of misconduct. If your spouse barely talks to you anymore or if they did something truly terrible, like abuse you or cheat on you, you may want to hold them responsible for those actions. 

If your religion or culture makes you feel like you cannot file for divorce, can you disinherit your spouse in case you die before they do? 

Disinherited spouses have rights under Illinois probate laws

You essentially disinherit your spouse by excluding them from your will. You can structure your estate plan around leaving all of your assets to other people, like your children or grandchildren. If you die before your spouse, in theory structuring your last wishes this way could prevent them from inheriting your assets. 

However, Illinois state law allows disinherited spouses the right to claim an elective share of the estate and possibly claim support against the estate. If you have children, a spouse you attempted to disinherit could receive up to one-third of your total assets. If you don’t have children, your spouse could receive half of the estate. 

Although you can plan your estate, however, you wish and exclude most other people, excluding your spouse won’t truly disinherit them. Understanding the rules that guide estate planning in Illinois can help you make the best of the process.

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