Tips for Disinheriting an Heir from Your Will
There are some situations in which a parent may wish to disinherit a child from their will. This is not a decision people make lightly—it can be quite painful to essentially cut a child out of their possible inheritance. If you decide to do so, it is important you do it correctly—you must expressly disinherit the child; simply leaving them out of the will could open your will up to potential challenges.
Here are some tips to consider for disinheriting an heir from your will.
- Don’t feel obligated to tell them: As difficult as it can be, it might be a better idea to not tell the child they have been disinherited. If you tell them, they could lash out at you or put ongoing pressure on you to reinstate them in your estate plan. You can avoid this constant aggravation by not telling the child. On the other hand, as we have said before, letting everyone in your family know in advance what to expect from your estate plan is a good idea. You just have to carefully weigh the pros and cons when a disinheritance is in the plan.
- Do not provide the reason in the will: It is generally advisable to not state the reason for disinheriting the child in the will. If any reason you give turns out to not be entirely true or at all arguable, the child could use that to try to challenge the will’s validity. It is better to use language such as, “For personal reasons, X Child will not inherit from my estate.” This will help you avoid will challenges.
- However, still provide reasoning elsewhere: It can be a good idea to keep handwritten notes about the disinheritance that you can keep with your attorney or in your own personal records. This can establish a paper trail about the decision and indicate it was not a choice you made lightly, or under the influence of another person. You should ask the lawyer drafting your will for her advice on this approach. Do not do it without legal advice.
- Always work with an attorney: It’s important to always work with an attorney on any estate planning process, but especially for disinheriting an heir, as the language must be very precise for it to be legally binding and avoid challenges to your will’s validity.
For more information about disinheriting an heir from your will, contact an experienced Tampa estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.