The choice to remove a family member from your last will and testament is a significant emotional and financial decision. If you don’t handle your decision carefully, you could end up having your last wishes overruled by a court should your scorned beneficiary try to overturn them.
If you wish to disinherit a relative from your end-of-life plans, you must enlist the estate planning attorney’s help. An experienced attorney can help you successfully eliminate a person from your estate plan while reducing the possibility of that person appealing your action in court after you pass away. Here are a few essential things to consider before disinheriting a family member:
Controlling their inheritance
One of the more common reasons someone will disinherit a relative is due to concerns that the individual may not be fit or responsible enough to manage their new wealth. Perhaps they suffer from an addiction or have made questionable financial decisions in the past.
Rather than cut them out of your estate, you can create a living trust to control how your relative receives their inheritance. For example, you can leave instructions that stipulate the child must finish college or remain drug-free to receive their inheritance.
Make your intentions known
If you have decided disinheritance is the route you want to take, it’s good to make your intentions clear to the person you are removing from your will. Failing to mention your choice to disinherit a relative could encourage a will contest on the grounds that the disinheritance wasn’t intentional.
It can also help your case to keep documentation of your decision that explains your reasoning to help prove your decision was not the result of impulsivity or coercion.
Include a no-contest clause
Including a no-contest provision in your will is a good idea if you have concerns about your heir challenging your will but do not want to disinherit them. If your beneficiaries contest your will with a no-contest clause, they will lose whatever you left to them in your documents. If you do wish to disinherit them, the clause isn’t necessary.