Do I have to leave my estate to my spouse in my will?

Generally when drawing up your will, you can do whatever you wish with your estate, providing it is lawful (and you are considered to be competent). You cannot, however, completely cut out your spouse.

In some states your spouse is already considered to own half of your property so that his or her half is unavailable for distribution. In every other state the spouse has the option to “elect against the will,” meaning that he or she can claim a percentage or your estate irrespective of what your will provides. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.