Tips for disinheriting someone effectively

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2023 | Wills and Estate

You’re not obligated to leave your assets and possessions to anyone. Your family members may expect to be included in your estate plan, but you can cut them out of that plan if you want. This is known as disinheritance, and it is entirely up to you.

That being said, it’s not something that should be done lightly. It increases the odds of an estate dispute because the individual who was disinherited may try to claim some estate assets anyway. This can make the whole process difficult for your family. Below are some tips that you can use to help things go more smoothly if you plan to disinherit one or more of your heirs.

Use a disinheritance clause

First and foremost, you don’t want to disinherit someone simply by ignoring them or not mentioning them in your will. It feels like ignoring their stake in your estate should be good enough, but it leaves the door open for a dispute. They may say that you just forgot about them or that the will is fraudulent. It’s much better to use a disinheritance clause, which may only be a line or two long, but it will make your intentions very clear.

Talk to them in advance

It can also be beneficial to talk to the person you’re disinheriting. Explain why you’re doing it and what your goals are. This may be an uncomfortable conversation, but it significantly lowers the odds of a dispute. Not only will they know that this really is what you want, but they will have time to talk with you about it, rather than disputing the decision in court.

Consider other options

Finally, remember that you may not have to disinherit someone to accomplish your goals. For instance, perhaps you are afraid that they are going to waste your money through frivolous spending. You could disinherit them, but you could also put the money into a spendthrift trust and have a trustee oversee all of their decisions. This would allow you to leave them an inheritance without worrying about how they will use it.

Overall, no matter what you want to accomplish, you can see how it is important to take the right legal steps when estate planning. Be sure you know exactly what is required to better ensure that your wishes are made clear and that they are ultimately enforceable.

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