The good thing about drafting a will is that you can decide exactly how your property will be distributed upon your death.  In essence, you are the master of your property.  However, there are hurdles that must be overcome.  One such hurdle is whether a spouse or a child is considered disinherited from your will.  Another is whether they have rights to your assets.  Of course, each state has its own set of rules.  Lets see whether family members who have been left out of a will can still recover something.

Disinherited Child’s Rights

Children can be disinherited from a parents will.  This means that the person making the will is not required to leave anything to his children.  In fact, the drafter of the will can disinherit any person that they choose.  However, if the will maker has children that they do not know about, these children may have a right to take their intestate share.  Intestate refers to the inheritance they would have received if their parent had died without a will.

Disinherited Spouses Rights

Some states follow Community Property rules and others do not.  Community property states include: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.  So in these states the disinherited spouse will receive half of the community property.

In a Community Property state, a surviving spouse who married the will maker after he made the will and is not provided for in the will has a right to a share of the will maker’s property.  However, the disinherited spouse will NOT take that share if: (1) The will maker intentionally left his spouse out of the will, or (2) the will maker provided for his spouse outside of the will.

Of course, these rules depend on the state you live in.

A Lawyer Can Help

Drafting a will is extremely important.  One day, your will will be the only way to determine how you wanted your assets to be distributed.  You will not be around to tell the court or your family how you would have liked to distribute your assets and that is why it is highly important to hire experienced counsel to aid you through this important process.  Every state has its own laws and it is important to speak with an attorney from your state.  Hiring a lawyer to ensure proper distribution of your assets will allow you to truly rest in peace.

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