Why should you use a disinheritance clause?

Posted by iLawyer on Nov 29th, 2021 Estate Planning, Firm News

You have no legal obligation to leave any of your financial or physical assets to your children. You are legally allowed to leave them nothing, which is known as disinheriting them. It is called this because these are people who would have expected to inherit from you, but that is being taken away. Many other types of beneficiaries, such as close friends, do not have the same expectation and thus do not need to be disinherited.

You can disinherit someone simply by refusing to put anything in the will for them. There are plenty of cases where wills just do not mention a child, as if he or she does not exist, and that child gets nothing. However, it may be wiser to put an actual disinheritance clause in the will. Why is this helpful?

Defining exactly what you want to do

The trouble with ignoring someone in your will is that they may claim that you never wanted to disinherit them and that the will is a fraud or that they were accidentally forgotten. This can lead to a will contest. A disinheritance clause allows you to define exactly what you’re attempting to do so that there is no question. This doesn’t guarantee that a will contest won’t happen, but it significantly lowers the odds.

Parents sometimes try to find creative ways to do this, such as leaving someone a token amount, like a dollar. This is a functional way to show that you didn’t forget them, but it isn’t necessary if you simply use a disinheritance clause instead.

Is your estate plan ready?

You really need to carefully consider your goals when creating an estate plan, and then you can look into all of the options you have to craft the plan that works perfectly in line with those goals.