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Most companies do not require spousal acceptance and no law requires it. However, in community property states, some companies do want spouses to sign the grant agreement, as that spouse has equal rights in the award. Companies believe that consent from the employee and the employee's spouse can protect them if a dispute arises.
Among the deciding factors that affect whether a company requires it include how conservative it is and concerned about litigation, whether the agreement includes clawback and noncompete provisions that are controversial, and the size of the grant. For more information on this topic, see a blog commentary from the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals (NASPP).
As explained in another FAQ, if you are married and your designated beneficiary is not your spouse, your plan may require spousal consent for the designation to be effective.
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