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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Disinheriting a child can be cause of probate litigation

Some Minnesota families may know the feeling of having a child or children who, for whatever reason, have become separated from the rest of the family. While this is no doubt a tragedy for many Minnesota residents who only want reconciliation and peace in their families, sometimes a person must make the painful decision to disinherit a child or another close relative.

When this decision must be made, Minnesota residents must remember that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Oftentimes, people's decisions to disinherit a child completely will lead to will contests or other probate litigation.

Of course, whenever possible, good communication about the reasons for the decision may be the best approach. Although a conversation about why a child is getting disinherited may prove to be unpleasant at the time, it at least cuts out the element of surprise and disappointment when a child discovers that his parents have died and left him nothing at all.

When this is not possible, however, a person may wish to consider an estate-planning tool other than a simple will, such as a trust. Even though a person is free to disinherit a child via a will, that child may still get wind of an ongoing probate proceeding involving the will. After all, probate matters are generally open to the public. Trusts, on the other hand, tend to be more private and also tend to afford people greater flexibility when deciding to limit or eliminate a child's inheritance.

Even though a person who is planning to disinherit a child has legal options to cut down on the chances of probate litigation, it is still a possibility in such circumstances.

Source: Times-Herald-Record, "Tips on family inheritances," Bonnie Kraham, Aug. 7, 2014

Source: Times-Herald-Record, "Tips on family inheritances," Bonnie Kraham, Aug. 7, 2014

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