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The mistake many people make when disinheriting a child

On Behalf of | Nov 25, 2022 | Estate planning

For most parents, children will be the main beneficiaries when they put together their estate plans. Young children will require help if their parents die before they become adults. Many parents still want their children to receive most of their assets even when they are adults with families of their own. However, there are a few situations in which parents may not want to provide an inheritance for their child.

Perhaps they have invested substantially in one child’s education or business and feel like that child has already received an inheritance when compared to the resources they have shared with their other children. Perhaps there is an issue with estrangement in the family, or perhaps the child has a history of substance abuse or similar issues that makes a parent worry about the impact of leaving that child a large sum of money.

When someone decides to disinherit one of their children, there is a common mistake that they will want to avoid.

Omitting someone’s name isn’t enough

People make the mistake of just omitting a name from their will. You might think that it makes a very clear statement to list each of your children by name in your will or trust and to not include one of them.

However, children not included in a parent’s estate plan but not explicitly disinherited could challenge the will by making a claim that their parents forgot them. It is common practice for people to specifically mention their decision to disinherit someone within their estate. documents or to leave an item of minimal financial value to the person they intend to disinherit.

Trusts can be more difficult to challenge. Those worried about the possibility of someone challenging their estate may want to create a trust instead of relying on a will. Trusts often hold up better when challenged in probate court than a basic will. Beyond that, they allow for more direct oversight regarding the use of inherited assets, which can make them helpful for those who worry that family members will try to undermine their wishes.