Disinheriting A Spouse: Understanding The Risks

The most interesting estate disputes to observe from afar are those in which those executing a will (called “testators” in legal parlance) decide upon a distribution of assets that is different from what would typically be intended. One of the greatest rights that you as an individual have over the real estate and personal property (including cash and investments) that you acquire throughout your life is the ability to dispose it as you see fit, subject only to your conscience, your state’s spousal support, elective share, and homestead laws (if any), and the prohibitions of your state court due to public policy grounds.

I recently the 1956 New York Court of Appeals case of Brown v. Du Frey, in which Florence Brown executed a will governing about $10,000 in her assets (worth around $100,000 in 2018 dollars) that not only disinherited her spouse Harold in favor of giving funds … Read the rest of this article!