A recent ruling from the Iowa Court of Appeals continued to reinforce the surviving spouse's right in the case of I n the Matter of the Estate of Herbert C. Shaffer, issued March 11, 2009 . Husband and wife had executed a postnuptial agreement (presumably in another state as postnuptial agreements - agreements entered into after a marriage - are not recognized in Iowa but are recognized in other states ). The postnuptial agreement basically provided that each would be responsible for their own expenses and would not look to the other party for reimbursement. Subsequently, husband executed a will in which he left all of his property to his children from his earlier marriage. After husband died, wife had a change of heart and decided to exercise certain rights of a surviving spouse. Specifically, she sought to elect to (1) take against the will and (2) request spousal support. First, a little background on these rights. Basically, you can't disinherit your spouse unless
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At the Ohio Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law blog , there is another great example of why will preparation should not be handled by yourself, especially if you have any unique situations in your family. Imagine after trying to kill your parents, you inherit $500,000 from them after they, understandably, attempted to disinherit you. Just another example of seemingly easy estate planning gone wrong.