Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1994

Abstract

"Marital property rights," a term that covers a vast multitude of rights or interests conferred by law on persons who occupy the status of spouse, are in a state of transition. To discuss the themes and trends that are emerging, this Article is divided into four discrete, yet related segments. The first segment addresses how the law allocates original ownership between spouses in a marriage. The second segment turns to the intestate share of the surviving spouse. This is not a topic that much concerns high-powered estate planners because intestate estates are usually fairly small. But to the surviving spouse, the intestate share can mark the difference between economic security and poverty. The third segment addresses the rights of spouses upon divorce and disinheritance at death. The fourth and final segment surveys some recent developments and offers a legislative proposal regarding the rights of persons who are not spouses at all, but "near-spouses." Central parts of the Uniform Probate Code, as revised in 1990, affect spousal rights. This article reports on the UPC revisions regarding spousal rights. If nothing else, these revisions have already stirred a renewed interest in and debate about spousal rights, and are likely to continue to do so for years to come.


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