Long Island estate planning attorneys can provide you with help understanding the New York laws that impact your ability to control your legacy. For example, under the laws of New York, you cannot disinherit your spouse without the consent of your spouse. This means if you do not want to leave any of your money and property to your husband or to your wife, you will need to work with an experienced attorney to make a plan. If you simply create a will that leaves all of your assets to people other than the person who you are married to, the law will allow your husband or wife to stake a claim on your estate anyway.
Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can help those who want to try to disinherit a spouse. Our legal team will work closely with you to understand the impact of New York’s laws on your ability to leave assets to someone other than your spouse. We will help you to try to carry out a plan that allows you to leave the legacy you want, and we’ll explain all of your options for controlling who inherits after you pass away. To find out more, give us a call today to talk with Long Island estate planning attorneys.
Why You Can’t Disinherit a Spouse
Many people believe, incorrectly, that if they simply allocate all of their possessions to desired heirs or beneficiaries in their will, that they will be able to disinherit a spouse by not including their spouse as an heir. This is not the case as a result of a law that creates a spousal elective share.
The law creating the spousal elective share is codified in New York State’s Estates Powers and Trust Law in section 5-1.1A. This law creates a “right of election” by the surviving spouse. This legal term means that a spouse can elect (or opt) to choose to inherit a share of the deceased person’s estate, rather than choosing to inherit as specified in the will.
Section 5-1.1A gives the surviving spouse the right to “elect” or choose to inherit the greater of $50,000 or 1/3 of the estate that the deceased spouse left behind. If the surviving spouse was left less than this amount in the will, it is likely that the surviving spouse would opt to take the elective share as defined by statute, rather than to take the lesser inheritance left in the will or to be left with no inheritance at all.
Because of this statute, even if you make a will and leave $0 to your surviving spouse, your husband or wife could obtain at least $50,000 or a third of your estate. This could be a very substantial amount of money, and those who you wished to inherit the money or property would not have recourse to actually claim the inheritance you wished to leave them because of the spousal elective share.
This does not mean there is no way to ever disinherit a spouse. You can use legal tools like prenuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements, if your spouse is willing to agree to sign such a contract and if you ensure that you follow the requirements for making a legally valid agreement. Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can help you to explore any and all options available to you so you can try to ensure that you get to leave your assets to the person who you wish to inherit if you don’t want that person to be your husband or your wife.
Getting Help from Long Island Estate Planning Attorneys
The laws of New York that prevent you from disinheriting a spouse are just one of the many laws that you should be aware of as you create your comprehensive estate plan. Many people do not fully understand the laws that impact their ability to leave a legacy, which can be a problem if you think your plan accomplishes things that it actually doesn’t.
Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can help you to make certain that you are making a comprehensive estate plan that actually works for your situation. We will assist you in understanding the laws that apply to you and will guide you though the process of making a plan within the bounds of the law that accomplishes your goals.
To find out more about how our firm can help you, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online to get personalized advice on all of your estate planning needs.