Will my Ex get my Inheritance?
Updated: Aug 25
Spouses sometimes fall subject to forgetting to take their ex off of their financial and investment accounts. If you forget to take your ex off as the beneficiary of your accounts then there is little to nothing that you can do after the fact. As such, give a full check of your beneficiary designations if you or your spouse has mentioned divorce.
What if I disinherit my spouse in my will? A marriage can only end in two ways. (1) decree of court (2) or by death of a spouse. If you pass away before your divorce is memorialized in a divorce decree then your spouse will receive their statutory one-half of the community property regardless of the provisions in your will. This is true even if your marriage is defunct. Your spouse also will retain the right to administer the community property.
Similarly, your spouse will retain the ability to petition for an award of homestead. The purpose of the award is to provide for the surviving spouse's needs (or those of decedent's children by another partner, under certain conditions) during the pendency of probate. The probate court possesses discretionary jurisdiction to make an allowance from the estate for the maintenance of the family. The court will use its discretion to consider the relationship of the spouses and any excessive consumption of the surviving spouse.
Lineal Descendants: Be careful with the terminology lineal descendants in your will. Your ex will likely be a lineal descendant of your child, potentially creating a very unintended beneficiary.