In some situations, you may want to disinherit an individual who may normally expect to inherit a portion of your estate. This can be an extremely delicate situation. There are a lot of reasons to leave a person out, some more nefarious than others. While family feuds might be what immediately come to mind, there are other, practical reasons for disinheriting individuals ? like that person’s own independent wealth, or a simple lack of relationship between yourself and that person.
Disinheriting someone is not as simple as omitting that person from your will, however, because that person could contest the will and the courts would be left to wonder whether the omission was intentional or a mistake. For that reason, here is some advice on the “right way” to disinherit.
For example, a spouse cannot be disinherited, because state laws will ensure that a surviving spouse is provided for, regardless of what your will might say.
Children can be disinherited, but it should be done only with great caution. Remember that it is always possible for relationships to be repaired, and financial positions to change, between the time you write your will and its administration after your death.
You may also feel inclined to disinherit more distant relatives, or people with whom you just don’t have a strong relationship. If you have a very large estate, it can be a good idea to leave token amounts to these individuals rather than disinheriting them completely. A small inheritance can keep someone who might otherwise contest the will from doing so.
If you think that disinheriting an individual is the right choice, think long and hard about it. If you do choose to disinherit someone, be sure the language of your will does so explicitly.