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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Can you disinherit your children?

In a perfect world, your children would turn out just how you wanted, and you would be able to quietly pass on with the assurance that they are doing what you preferred with your assets and money. Unfortunately, in real life, this is not always the case, and there are times when you may need to consider disinheriting your children to protect the estate you have worked so hard to build.

You should never disinherit your children in anger, but if it is something you are seriously considering, there are a few things you should think through before making the final legal changes.

Disinheriting will not change behavior

Some parents hope to use the loss of an inheritance to influence behavior. While this may work in the short term, the chances of your progeny returning to the problematic behaviors after you are gone are high. If you want to control how your heirs act after you are gone, you may choose to put your money in a trust with someone who oversees the distribution of the money based on how the heirs are behaving.

Your intentions should be clear

If you plan to leave your children or another beneficiary out of your will, the conditions and terms should be made clear long before you are gone. Springing the surprise on possible heirs after you pass on will only create problems for those who do stand to inherit your estate.

Update your documents as necessary

You may have a child who is currently struggling and you choose to remove him from your will and estate plan. If that child later changes his behavior and you become comfortable with giving him his inheritance, do not forget that you need to change the information in your will before you die.

No matter what age you are, you should be revisiting your will and estate plan on a regular basis to determine if your wishes have changed or if you need to adjust. If you are concerned about whether you should disinherit your children and how to do it, speak to an attorney today.

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