You can leave your property and assets to anyone you like, however, that may not be the ultimate outcome. Upon your death, how your assets are titled will determine how they pass to your beneficiaries and there are provisions in the law that may affect the outcome. For example: If you make a Will excluding your Wife, she can make an election to set the Will aside and seek her intestate share - which in New Hampshire is $250,000 plus of the remainder of anything else. If you own property Jointly with her, she will automatically get that property. If she is named the Beneficiary of retirement accounts or life insurance, she will automatically receive that. If you truly wish to exclude her you should seek legal advice on the best way to re-title your assets for your children to receive them. Please call to discuss your situation in more detail.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
If you are in California (or another community property state), you can leave your 1/2 of the community property and all of your separate propertyto anyone you wish. If you do notmake a will (or trust) thenwhatever assets you have will pass pursuant to statute.
Answer Applies to: California
I don't know where you live and its an important consideration because each state has different rules about estates, etc. If you do not want anything to go to your wife, you must make up a Will that directs such a thing. However, remember that your wife always retains what's known as a "Right of Election" against your estate that allows her to receive up to one half of your estate regardless of what you say in your Will. Instead, you may be able to put everything into a Family Trust and that way exclude her from getting anything. However, for either one of those things you will need the help and assistance of an attorney. See one locally for additonal advice.
Answer Applies to: New York
Washington is a community property state so everything (few exceptions) you acquire during the marriage are considered property of you and your wife. Separate property is the property you acquired before the marriage. You can decide who gets your separate property and you can exclude your wife (via a valid will), however, community property will become your wife's property. You may need to speak with a family law attorney.
Answer Applies to: Washington
In most states like Florida, while you can disinherit a spouse, they can claim an elective share (30% in FL). You can leave everything to your children as long as the assets are titled in your name alone and it is not your homestead. Your spouse would have a claim to your homestead under operation of law as well as 30% of your elective estate if she choose to enforce her rights.
Answer Applies to: Florida