Written Evidence That Show Intent to Omit the Spouse
Due to the responsibility of administering an estate, personal representatives may find themselves having to deal with many unexpected tasks. One task may be to defend the estate against a legal action brought by a surviving spouse. Further, this legal action can happen even if they are omitted from the decedent’s estate plan.
California law provides for omitted spouses to receive a specific share of a spouse’s estate. However, this can be overturned if the estate can show specific evidence that the omission was intentional.
Documents That Show Intent to Omit the Spouse From a Will
To support the decedent will show the intent to omit a spouse. Consequently, in order to omit a spouse from a will, it is significant to have written documentation. Some examples of this written evidence include:
- A specific clause stating the surviving spouse was intentionally omitted from the decedent’s estate plan.
- A codicil to the will is if the marriage occurred after the deceased spouse had already executed their estate plan. In this codicil, a specific provision must state that the deceased spouse intended to omit the surviving spouse.
- A specific statement contained in the will stating the surviving spouse is being omitted from the will because other transfers were made in place of leaving the surviving spouse’s assets under the terms of the will. Examples would include:
- To name the surviving spouse as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy
- Titling assets as joint tenancy with rights of survivorship
- Designating the surviving spouse as the beneficiary of retirement plans
- A validly-executed prenuptial agreement that clearly states the deceased spouse’s intent to omit the surviving spouse.
- A validly-executed marital agreement that clearly states the deceased spouse’s intent to omit the surviving spouse.
If you are involved in a trust or estate dispute, we may be able to assist you. We encourage you to review some of our previous case results to learn more.