Can You Disinherit Your Partner?

Often, probate lawyers become associated with cases where their clients ask for their help in drafting wills that will provide their partners very little bit of their estates or nothing at all. Probate lawyers might likewise end up being associated with cases representing partners who get nothing through disinheritance.

This can happen for a number of factors. Often, in bad marital relationships, a spouse may use his will as a method of “getting back at” or exacting some type of revenge versus his wife. Other times, a wife might have desired to apply for divorce but became too ill to do so or did not have the wherewithal to engage in a costly legal divorce battle. Whatever the factors might be, clients may often ask if it is lawfully possible to disinherit a partner.
Because many state probate laws originate from the English typical law and the Uniform Probate Code, the answer that lawyers might provide to their curious customers is “maybe.” It is not possible to entirely disinherit your partner by composed will, considering that many state statutes, including the Iowa Probate Code, make it difficult to disinherit your partner entirely.

Wait– shouldn’t you have a right to disinherit certain heirs, including your partner? At typical law, your spouse was entitled to a dower or curtsey. Usually, a dower involves real property, however state legislatures expanded the common law rights of dower to consist of personal effects. The thinking for this may stem from the legal view that both spouses equally added to their marital property. The rights of optional or forced shares embody this idea of communal or marital property rights.
In Iowa, Section 633.236 of the Iowa Probate Code particularly specifies that a married spouse can not disinherit his partner totally through a composed will. If you draft a will and leave your partner absolutely nothing or reasonably little, your spouse has a right to request an optional share pursuant to the Iowa Probate Code. The useful result is that your partner has a right to claim her share under your will as drafted or request an alternate or optional share. Both partners ought to understand their legal probate rights by scheduling a legal assessment as quickly as possible.