Your estate plan or will provide instructions about managing your needs and handing out your assets. Many people planning their estate want to leave in equal inheritance to each of their children. Others want to leave specific, meaningful resources or assets for each child.
Occasionally, a parent will be in a situation where they feel like they need to exclude one of their potential heirs. Addiction, estrangement, divorce and many other personal matters could make you decide that disinheriting someone is the appropriate course of action. How do you go about disinheriting a child or other potential beneficiary?
Address the issue head-on in your documents
One of the biggest mistakes that those who opt to disinherit a family member make is to just leave someone out of the paperwork entirely. They name other family members and divide their property among their chosen heirs.
This approach opens the door to a challenge. The person who doesn’t receive any inheritance could challenge the estate plan in probate court by claiming that the testator accidentally forgot them. By leaving someone a single dollar or specifically talking about your decision to disinherit them, you weaken their chances of challenging your wishes.
Other people may want to create a trust. This approach can be smart because it reduces the possibility of a challenge and gives a testator more control over what happens with the property. Whichever approach you take, telling loved ones about your decision will ensure they know what to expect when going over your documents.
Carefully considering your family situation can help you create an estate plan that realistically reflects your needs and wishes.