Are You Contemplating Disinheriting Your Child? Here's What You Should Know Beforehand

Posted on: 7 October 2022

Most parents do everything possible to give their children a comfortable life and mold them to be responsible citizens. Unfortunately, some kids deviate from their parents' guidance as they grow up; they become irresponsible or engage in criminal activities. Such behaviors may cause you to feel like your child cannot handle a large inheritance. Because of this, you might decide to exclude them from your will and give your more responsible family members priority in inheriting your estate. Read on to understand what the law states about disinheriting a child and successfully removing them from your will.

Children Don't Always Have a Right to Inherit 

Many states give children and spouses the statutory right to inherit property when a person dies without creating an estate plan. However, this may not be the case when there is a will. In such cases, only the beneficiaries named in the will have a right to inherit property. Therefore, you can disinherit a child or all your children in favor of other inheritors. For instance, you might decide to name your grandchildren or charitable organizations as heirs to your property.

However, it is always advisable to consult an estate planning lawyer for advice before disinheriting your child. They will assist you in drafting the document to ensure it is legally binding. This will minimize the possibility of legal battles in the future.

You Have to Follow Legal Procedure to Avoid Lawsuits

It is important to note that simply omitting your child's name from your will is not enough to deny them a chance at inheriting your property. When you exclude them, they can take the issue to court and demand that they be named as heirs. This is especially likely if your child was born after you created your will. In this case, they might claim that your omitting them from your estate plan was not intentional. For this reason, you must legally disinherit the individual to avoid lawsuits between them and your heirs. Specifically, this includes mentioning those you don't want inheriting your property by name. Notably, you don't have to explain why you have removed them from your estate plan.

Your legal advisor will guide you when creating your will to prevent issues that may cause legal battles. They can also recommend other alternatives instead of outright disinheriting your child. For instance, they might suggest that you use a trust, giving you more control in determining why and when your child may inherit your property. Your attorney can also advise you to appoint a trustee for your estate. This way, you can prevent abuses of your children's inheritance.

You have a right to disinherit your child, but you have to do it within the law. To achieve this, you may want to work with an estate planning attorney to ensure that you handle the process legally and objectively.

Contact a local estate planning attorney to learn more.