Can I Disinherit My Spouse in Michigan?

Disinheriting a spouse is of particular interest to those parties who wish to have a personalized estate plan that intentionally doesn’t leave anything to a married partner. There are many different reasons why you might raise this question to your estate planning lawyer. Perhaps there is a prenuptial agreement or financial plan in place or you simply don’t want your spouse to receive anything from your estate when you pass away.spouse

However, in the state of Michigan, you are not eligible to disinherit your spouse by omitting to provide for them in your will or by including an explicit statement in the will that your spouse is not eligible to receive anything from an estate.

This is because the Michigan law provides a surviving spouse an intestate proceeding with the right to elect a share of the estate of his or her spouse, even if the will expressly says that this party is not eligible to receive anything. The surviving spouse has options to elect, including:

  • Taking half of the share that would have passed to the spouse if the testator had died intestate
  • Abiding by the terms of the will, the spouse if also required to be given notice about the options they have so you should not expect that attempting to disinherit a spouse will work by failing to explain to them these options.

The right to elect a share only applies to those assets that are associated with your Michigan probate proceeding. Assets belonging to you that are not subject to probate, such as assets owned by a trust or a life insurance policy, can be kept from a surviving spouse and given to others by using proper designation strategies. For more information about structuring your Michigan estate, schedule a consultation with a lawyer today.


Gregory S. Schrot

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