Does Oklahoma law allow you to cut family members out of your Will? The answer is that it depends on their relationship to you.
Can you, by Will, make sure that you wife or husband gets no part of your estate?
The short answer is no!
In Oklahoma, if you are married when you die, your surviving spouse can either (1) take what you leave to her or him under your Will or a Trust, or (2) “elect against the Will” (which includes a trust).
In the case that a spouse “elects against the Will,” that person is then entitled to 1/2 of the property acquired by the joint industry of the husband and wife during their marriage. Basically, all property acquired during your marriage is joint industry property except (1) that covered by a valid pre-nuptial agreement, and (2) property acquired by gift or inheritance during marriage, which is taken in your name only and is not co-mingled with any other joint industry property. In other words, you can’t cut out your spouse.
Your Children (or Grandchildren)
Can you, by Will, make sure that one or more of your children (or grandchildren) get no part of your estate?
The short answer is yes!
In most cases, you have no legal obligations to leave anything to your descendants, although most people do.
However, if you choose to exclude them, you must make it clear that you have omitted them intentionally. The easiest way to do this is to name ALL of your family members in your Will, so that it is apparent that you did not forget about them. Then, leave your property to whomever you wish, including charities, and so forth.
If you don’t name your descendants in your Will or Trust by name or class, they will be able to obtain from your estate the same amount that they would have received if you died intestate (without a Will).
If you have more questions and would like help getting your estate in order, please contact me, and I'll be glad to assist you.
Grayson P. Van Horn is an attorney at law serving Oklahoma residents and property owners.
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