Can you disinherit your spouse or children?

Recently in this blog, we talked about whether you could leave a family member less than another one in your will, as well as cutting some relatives out of the inheritance. However, do you and other Michigan residents have complete freedom in picking and choosing anyone you want to disinherit? The answer depends on who, exactly, you wish to cut out of your will.

Imagine being involved in any of the following situations: You might have stayed in an unhappy marriage, but built a sizeable amount of savings in an account separate from your spouse’s funds. Your assets could include those that are not considered marital property, such as an inheritance or a home you purchased before you were married. You might be separated, but not divorced, from your spouse. You could have had a serious disagreement with one of your teenage children and decided that he or she should not have an inheritance unless the argument is resolved. In any of these cases, you might wonder if you can cut these people out of your will.

According to CNBC, it is not uncommon for people to disinherit family members they do not get along with. However, it makes a difference if the child you wish to cut out of your will is a minor under age 18, or if you are still married to the spouse you want to disinherit. Legally, your spouse has the first right to inherit what you leave behind. Your children would come next, unless you specifically state in your will that any adult children are to be left out. If, however, they are minors, your children may be entitled to receiving a portion of the inheritance for their care. Your legal spouse has the right to dispute the terms of your will, even if he or she is estranged from you.

It can help to understand the laws of intestacy regarding who is entitled to an inheritance. However, this information should not be taken as legal advice.