If you have spent your life building your wealth, you may have very definite ideas about what you want to do with it at the end of your life. You may have certain charities you wish to fund, and you may be considering the most appropriate ways to make bequests to your children. However, what should you do if you have one child to whom you do not wish to leave any part of your estate? This is your right as long as the child is over 18.
Disinheriting a child can be an emotional choice. Sometimes, it is for the good of the child, and other times, it is a matter of principle. If you intend to disinherit one of your children, you would be wise to seek sound advice about your options and understand the probate laws in Texas to avoid having contests and litigation swallow up your estate’s assets.
Make yourself clear
Your reasons for wanting to disinherit your child may be very personal. Some who are creating their estate plans recognize that a child has an addiction or makes poor life choices, and an inheritance will only feed those bad choices. Others are estranged from a child due to a disagreement or because the child made lifestyle decisions that demonstrated disrespect for the parent. If you plan to disinherit your child, you will want to remember the following:
- Simply leaving the child out of the will may cause others to wonder if you accidentally omitted them. This could lead to an expensive will contest.
- You can clarify your reasons for the disinheritance by including a concise explanation in your will.
- Exaggerating your reasons for the disinheritance may create room for a will contest.
- Leaving a token inheritance may minimize the claims that you forgot to include the child.
- You may wish to include evidence that you are of sound mind as you write your will.
- Make sure the reasons for the disinheritance are valid and not events that occurred in the distant past that your child has long forgotten and perhaps even repaired.
If your decision to disinherit is because of your child’s wasteful or addictive behavior, you may want to investigate the use of a trust instead of a will. Your appointed trustee can manage the inheritance and provide it to your child when the child is better able to handle it. Your attorney can assist you with this and guide you in making appropriate decisions about planning your estate.