If Tiger Woods were to die and his will to leave his entire estate to a trust for his children’s benefit, could his wife Elin Woods, be left without anything? In other words, can you disinherit your wife from your estate?
Generally speaking, the main advantage of a will and/or a trust is that it allows you to identify specifically who you want your assets to go to after you die. Otherwise, you die “intestate” (meaning without a will) and Florida law will direct how your assets are divided. Thus, a will that is properly executed gives you the power to pick and choose your beneficiaries and generally speaking there are no restrictions on that power.
The one exception concerns your surviving spouse. Under Florida law, you generally cannot disinherit your spouse from your estate unless of course you entered into a valid prenuptial agreement. The surviving spouse of a person living in Florida at the time of the death is entitled to an elective share in the estate regardless of what the decedent’s will indicates. An elective estate includes the decedent’s probate estate (anything that would pass through probate) and property that is not owned with right of survivorship, among other things. A surviving spouse is entitled to 30% of those assets and can choose whether he or she wants the 30% share (also called the elective share) or whatever may be left to him or her directly via the will.
In the case of Tiger and Elin Woods, if she and Tiger own any property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship and he were to die, that property would automatically pass to her. If his will makes no provision for her, than it is questionable whether she would be entitled to any other property not owned as joint tenants since the parties have a prenuptial agreement in place which reportedly requires that the couple be married 10 years before she is entitled certain assets of his estate. Had they not entered into the prenuptial agreement or if the court were to ever determine the agreement is unenforceable, Tiger Woods would not be able to disinherit his wife from his estate.