When most people hear the word “disinheritance,” they imagine a family rift that caused a parent to write a child out of the will. In some cases, this is true. A parent may feel the need to disinherit a spendthrift child to prevent them from squandering the family fortune. An argument may prompt someone to disinherit their kin. But in other cases, disinheritance is a useful tool that can actually help protect a beloved child’s inheritance.
Disinheriting a child
A recent example of disinheritance as a positive tool is the estate of actor Burt Reynolds. Reynolds, of Smokey and the Bandit and Deliverance, recently passed away. But instead of celebrities like Prince Rogers Nelson and Aretha Franklin, who died intestate, he wisely created a will during his lifetime.
His estate is making headlines because Reynolds chose to exclude his only son from his will. However, this was far from a punishment. Rather, Reynolds wrote his son out of the will because he chose to provide for his son through a revocable trust. This is a wise choice for many parents, not just screen actors. It circumvents the legal process of probate and saves the actor’s fortune from going toward estate taxes.
Revocable trusts are for everyone
In a revocable trust, a trustee owns the trust’s assets. The grantor can remain a trustee through her lifetime, amending the trust at any time. When the grantor dies, the assets are distributed to the beneficiary. This process is much more private than a last will and testament, and much less complex.
You do not need to be famous to establish a revocable trust for your descendants. If you wish to spare your children from probate, keep your assets private and still provide for them after your death, consider disinheriting them. You may be doing them a favor.