Thinking about disinheriting a child? Tread carefully

| Nov 4, 2020 | Estate Planning

The standard estate plan leaves the deceased’s assets to their spouse (if still alive) and the deceased’s children. However, life is rarely as simple as this suggests. Parent-child relationships can be difficult. As much as we do not like to admit it, there are parents and adult children who do not get along for various reasons. Some have become estranged over the years, to the point that the parent has serious doubts that they want to leave that child part of their estate.

The decision to disinherit a child is rarely easy. But it can be done with sensitivity while still making sure your final wishes are met. Here are some tips to consider.

Use a revocable trust

Relying on a will alone to choose your heirs can be risky. Challenging the validity of a will can be easier than a revocable trust, also known as a living trust. Usually, people create a revocable trust years before they die. A grantor who has spent years managing their trust would not seem to have been under undue influence or suffering from mental incapacity when they created it. Challenging a trust in probate court can be much more difficult, which could persuade your child not to try.

Leave them a little bit

A common strategy is to leave the would-be disinherited child a token inheritance. If they receive something, your child may be less likely to challenge the validity of your will or trust. In some states, testators can include a No Contest clause in their plan that disinherits anyone who challenges the estate plan in court. However, Florida law does not recognize No Contest clauses.

Update your estate plan

When you created your plan, your relationships with your children were strong. Since then, things might have changed for the worse, unfortunately. If you have decided that you no longer want to leave anything to one or more of your children or stepchildren, update your estate plan as soon as possible.