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Can you disinherit your spouse in your Arizona estate plan?

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2021 | Estate Planning

With divorce no longer carrying much social stigma, most people assume that those who stay married are happy with their relationships. However, some people stay in miserable and unhealthy marriages for religious reasons or out of a sense of personal responsibility.

If you intend to stay married even though you have a bad relationship with your spouse, you may find ways to express your dissatisfaction with your marriage. Could you choose to disinherit your spouse and cut them out of your estate plan in case you die before they do?

Spouses usually have a right to at least partial inheritance

Under Arizona law, your spouse has a strong claim to your property when you die. If you die without a last will, they will usually receive everything unless you have children from another relationship. When you do have a last will, things can be a bit more complex. A spouse could potentially challenge your estate plan if you eliminate their inheritance entirely due to community property rights.

Is there any way to circumvent the rules against spousal disinheritance?

If the only instrument you want to use in your estate plan is a last will, disinheriting your spouse won’t really be a possibility.

However, if you move a significant amount of your personal property into a trust, you can drastically reduce what your spouse receives or what they can even make a claim to after you die. Still, even a trust could face challenges in court if it violates someone’s community property rights, which means that careful planning is absolutely necessary.

Determining what your wishes are before you create your estate planning documents can help you craft a legacy that reflects your wishes.