Most of us are more than happy to provide for our spouses using our estate plans. In fact, providing for your spouse and family is often the primary reason for making a Will in the first place.
But, what happens when you’re estranged from your spouse, or want to exclude him or her from your Will for another reason? For example, there are couples who have been separated for years, and may not have seen or spoken to each other, yet they haven’t gotten a divorce. If you’re in this situation, can you disinherit your spouse?
In nearly every state in the U.S., your spouse is entitled to a portion of your estate, regardless of what your estate plan says. And Florida is included in this list; unless he or she waives it in writing, your spouse has a right to part of your estate.
So, how much is your spouse entitled to if you’re a Florida resident? In addition to certain other rights, your spouse gets an “elective share” equal to 30% of your estate. But, there are some details to note:
- Your spouse doesn’t automatically get an elective share, he or she has to request it;
- The request has to be filed with the court in the county where your estate is probated;
- There are deadlines: if your spouse receives notice that your estate is being administered, he or she has to act within six months of receiving that notice; otherwise, the deadline is two years after your death.