Can my wife cut me out of her Will if she passes before me?

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Can my wife cut me out of her Will if she passes before me?

We have a IRA in her name; we’ve been married over 30 years. Can she draw up a Will that could leave the IRA in another family members name and not me?

Asked on August 10, 2016 under Estate Planning, Missouri

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First of all, if a designated beneficiary has been named to receive your wife's IRA proceeds upon her death, then those proceeds transfer outside of her estate and are paid directly to the person listed as beneficiary. If she has neglected to name such a beneficiary, then the proceeds will pass to her estate. In that event, those proceeds along with the rest of her estate will be paid out as determined by the terms of the Will. In MO, as in most states, a spouse cannot person completely disinherit their surviving spouse. If a surviving spouse is left out of the deceased's Will, they have a "right of election". In MO, a surviving spouse inherits 1/3 of the estate if the deceased had children and 1/2 of the estate if there are no surviving heirs.


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