Date registered: Mar 2005
Vehicle: '01-E320 & 02-ST2
Location: John 15:18-19
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
RE: Marriage and Wills
In virtually all states if a spouse dies without leaving a will (it's called "intestate"), the surviving spouse inherits everything.
If you die with a valid will, generally speaking the terms it lays out will be followed. That doesn't mean they can't be contested -- and probably will be if you leave nothing to a spouse and the estate is of sufficient size -- but the law generally respects the terms of a valid will. There are also tricks to limit the ability to contest a will.
FYI, you're on the wrong track about divorce. That generality, to the extent it applies at all, would only apply in states that have community property, which is a distinct minority. The rest generally split the estate equitably based upon a number of factors, not the least of which is what the party brought into the marriage.
BTW, valid pre-nup agreements will trump general rules both in divorce as well as death. Lesson learned: got lots of money? Get a pre-nup.