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How to remove your spouse from your will in Missouri

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2022 | Estate Planning

Missouri law doesn’t allow you to completely remove your spouse from your will. Surviving spouses have a legal right to your estate regardless of what your will states. To securely remove your spouse from your will, you need to either formally disinherit them or divorce them.

Disinheriting a spouse

One way of disinheriting a spouse in Missouri is to have your spouse sign a postnuptial agreement in which they waive their rights to your estate. Prenuptial agreements may also include a clause that waives their rights to inherit your property. Estate planning law doesn’t allow you to take it upon yourself to disinherit them. They must sign a legally enforcing agreement in which they knowingly give up their claim to spousal inheritance.

Infidelity and abandonment

Missouri law, however, makes an exception for situations in which your spouse has abandoned you or cheated on you. If a married person voluntarily leaves their spouse to live with an adulterer, then you may be able to disinherit them. Another situation in which you could disinherit a spouse is if they abandon you without just reason to live separately from you for at least one year.

You may want to immediately enforce your right to disinherit your spouse, even if you plan on filing for divorce. Contested divorces typically take six to 12 months to finalize in Missouri. An uncontested divorce takes around 90 days to complete. No divorce is faster than 30 days in Missouri because state law requires a 30-day waiting period upon filing for divorce.

Those who want to change their estate plans to no longer include their spouse must know that it’s usually illegal in Missouri to do this. Spouses could forcefully take a certain share of your estate because of the state’s spousal inheritance law.