If you’re doing your estate planning, there are a lot of different tools that you can use. It all depends on what your goals are. For some parents, the goal is to disinherit a specific child, perhaps one that they had a falling-out with or someone that they don’t believe will be able to use that inheritance in a proper manner.
To do this, you may want to consider using a disinheritance clause. This simply means putting in language that specifies that you did intentionally cut your child out of the will. People have tried other ways to get around this, such as leaving someone a token inheritance – like a dollar – but you don’t really need to do anything that drastic. You just need to make it clear in the will that you did not want to leave them anything.
Why do you have to be so obvious?
You may find yourself wondering why you need to take the step. Couldn’t you just leave that heir out of the will, allot all of the other assets to other people, and trust that it would be taken care of?
The problem is that children legally expect to inherit. This doesn’t mean that they’re going to, but they do expect to and the law also expects them to. You need to take steps to overcome this type of presumption. The disinheritance clause can do that, and it can also reduce the odds that your heir will then start a will contest on the grounds that you merely forgot or overlooked something.
As you can see, estate planning may be more complicated than you assumed. Be sure you know about all of the legal steps you’ll need to take.