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If you do not want to leave property to your spouse, you should be aware that many states "protect" spouses with laws that permit a spouse to receive a portion of the estate even though the last will does not provide for the spouse. You may want to consult with a lawyer regarding the legal rights of your spouse to receive property from your estate, despite the provisions of your will to the contrary.

An agreement between you and your spouse, signed prior to your marriage (known as a Premarital Agreement) may permit you to exclude your spouse from your last will. It's possible to put limitations on the property that you leave to a spouse through the establishment of trusts for the benefit of your spouse that come into existence after you die. You should consider the following factors in deciding what kind of trust is best for your circumstances:
  • The possibility that your spouse's needs may increase in the future
  • The manner of living to which your spouse is accustomed
  • The ability of your spouse to provide for his or her own needs
  • The ability of your spouse to manage the trust assets
  • The possibility that your spouse may remarry and the effect the marriage may have on your children or other beneficiaries.

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This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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