There are some situations when information is key if you want to make good, conscious decisions. One of these cases is when you’re creating your will and need to take into account your spouse.
Most states have laws that prevent your spouse from being left out of your will. There are also community property laws in many states where there are certain rules regarding the division of assets and property. You can find them in California, Nevada, Texas, Washington, and other states.
First of all, you need to know what community property is. In this category, there are included all assets and belongings that you and your spouse acquired during the marriage. Because both parties participated in the purchase or earning of the good in question, it’s part of half ownership.
So, each spouse has one half of the community property. They can do what they wish with it and any other properties or assets outside of the community property, which they could’ve gotten separated from the marriage. You can leave your half-share and your other property to whoever you want- even your spouse.
On the other hand, an agreement signed by both parties can “cancel” the community property rules. This means that the assets won’t have to follow what these laws stipulate. In those states where there are no community property laws, different things can happen.
In most cases, a spouse can claim belongings and assets of the deceased even if it isn’t in the will. This can be anywhere from one-half to one-third of the total assets, depending on the state’s laws. Some even take the length of the marriage into account when deciding the rightful portion that the living spouse can claim.
However, if a spouse receives less than what they can rightfully claim, there’s no place to complain as long as the testator included them but provided no objection to their wishes. In this case, there are no valid claims.