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What family members need to know about disinheritance


Can family members be disinherited in a will?

It is not uncommon for a husband or wife to be excluded under their spouse’s will. This situation often occurs when:

  • an estranged husband and wife are separated for a significant period of time,
  • a couple is married later in life and each have children by prior marriages, or
  • a spouse never updated their will after marriage.

While Tennessee law allows you to disinherit family members, including children, the law provides special protections for a spouse.

The most basic of these protections for a spouse is the elective share. The elective share allows for a spouse who has been disinherited, advertently or inadvertently, to claim a part of the deceased spouse’s estate. The amount of the estate a spouse is allowed to claim is based upon how long the couple was married. For example, if a couple was married for 3 years or less the spouse may claim 10% of the estate; married for 3 but less than 6, the spouse may claim 20%; married for 5 years but less than 9, the spouse may claim 30%; and for a marriage over 9 years the spouse may claim 40% of the deceased spouse’s estate.

If you find yourself in a situation in which you have been cut out of your spouse’s will or are contemplating removing your spouse from your estate plan, it is important to know this part of Tennessee probate law and how it affects your personal situation. At Batson Nolan our experienced Estate planning and probate attorneys are well versed in all areas of the law concerning wills, probate, and inheritance laws. We can help when a situation like this occurs and help you plan an estate in order to prevent these situations from occurring.

Contact us today to connect with the right attorney for all your legal needs. With hundreds of years of combined legal experience, Batson Nolan PLC is committed to our clients and to achieving results that exceed expectations.