Can You Disinherit Your Spouse?

Posted by | · · · · · · · · | Estate Planning

If the thought of leaving your estate to your spouse makes you nervous then you’ve probably wondered: can you disinherit your spouse?


The answer is generally, no – at least not entirely.


Under Massachusetts law your spouse is entitled to inherit a portion of your estate (also known as the spousal elective share). And just to be clear, that includes the property you’ve placed in a revocable trust. However, the amount he or she is entitled to varies depending on whether you leave behind children or other relatives.


How much exactly?


If you have children, then your spouse may elect to take $25,000 plus a life estate in one-third of the balance.

If you have no children, but kindred (the fancy word for relatives) then your spouse may elect $25,000 plus a life estate in one-half of the balance.

And, if you left behind no issue or kindred then your spouse may take $25,000 plus one-half the balance outright.


Of course, for every rule there are exceptions such as desertion or separation for justifiable cause (e.g. abuse).


If you have any questions about disinheritance or about estate planning in general, then please feel free to contact Joseph Lento at Perennial Trust by calling (781) 202 – 6368 or emailing You can also download our Free Estate Planning Guide. Thanks for reading!

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