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If you want to disinherit, don’t just leave someone out

Torrance Probate and Estate Planning Attorney

If you want to disinherit, don’t just leave someone out

Say you’re doing your estate planning and you know that you want to disinherit one of your children. They expect to be in your will, but you want to cut them out and give your assets to other heirs.

You could have any number of reasons for doing this. Maybe you had a falling out. Maybe you don’t approve of their choices. Maybe they have more money than you do, and there’s no reason to leave them anything.

Regardless of the reason, don’t just actually leave them out of the will, failing to mention them at all. Instead, have a conversation with them about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Then put language in your will to directly state that they are not going to get any of your assets.

Why do you want to do this? It can stop them from challenging the will. If you just say nothing, they may assume it’s an oversight. They may think you meant to leave them something and forgot to do it. Perhaps they’ll accuse someone else of altering the will or using undue influence to cause you to overlook it. Regardless, they’ll think it’s an error, and it can lead to an estate dispute.

If you put in the will that you do want to cut them out, they know it’s intentional, so they are far less likely to dispute it — though it does still happen in some cases.

As you work your way through this process, be sure you know what legal steps you need to take.