Most parents want to give their children a better life than they had, and that desire is often the foundation for a financial bequest at the time of someone’s death.

You may have spent years building up your career and financial stability so that you could start a family. Unfortunately, no matter how good your intentions are, you can’t control exactly who your children grow up to be. Addiction, a non-existent relationship and even a bad marriage could all be reasons for a parent to choose to disinherit their child.

There are many parents who wind up faced with an awkward situation where they do not want to leave behind assets for one or all of their children. Can a parent disinherit an adult child as part of their estate plan in Arizona?

You have the right to control the distribution of your assets after death

Creating a thorough estate plan or last will while you are still healthy is a perfectly legal way in which to assume control over how your assets get divided when you die. Those who die without a will or intestate will generally have their assets distributed to their closest family members, with spouses and children receiving priority consideration.

However, the law in Arizona does not mandate that a parent must leave assets behind for their children. You can make the difficult decision to disinherit one or all of your children and allocate your assets to other people or even a charitable organization of your choice. Committing your wishes to writing and explaining your reasoning in the document thoroughly can reduce the likelihood of a disinherited child successfully challenging your estate plan.

Testators who share information reduce challenge risks

All of the work you have spent creating a last will and estate plan can wind up undone if someone in your family challenges your wishes. Although people generally need grounds to bring a challenge, unbalanced estate plans can absolutely incentivize people to fabricate reasons to challenge an estate.

If everyone in your family is aware of your intentions, it will make it harder for the disinherited child(ren) to successfully challenged your wishes later. While it may be an unpleasant conversation to have, informing your beneficiaries of your intentions now will ensure that your last will doesn’t contain surprises.