Disinheritance More Challenging Than You Might Think

Estate planning largely involves the process of distributing assets toyour heirs.  But what if you decide not to distribute assets to certainheirs? Be forewarned:  disinheritance, regardless of yourreasons, can lead to hurt feelings and even quarrelsome legal battles.

A recent article from Reuters,“Disinheriting someone is not easy,” illustrates some of the many reasons peoplechoose not to leave assets to certain heirs. The reasons are as varied as theassets involved, and may include anything from hard feelings within a family toa desire to "equalize" wealth among adult children with differingdegrees of financial success. 

If you choose to disinherit someone, realize that some classes of heirshave legal rights that cannot be violated, such as spouses and minor children. Reuters explains it well:

Justas you cannot tell a divorce judge that you refuse to split assets or payalimony, you cannot leave your surviving spouse's house and all of the money toa child or some other family member. Using language to disavow and disinherityour spouse will not help ...  the spousecan waive the will and receive whatever he or she is entitled to under statelaw. Minor children are also protected by the courts. Whatever financialsupport the minor is entitled to receive, he or she will get, assuming themoney is available.

Regardless of thereason(s) you may have to disinherit someone, be sure to discuss them with yourestate planning attorney. Properly drafted legal documents can help ensure yourwishes are followed, as well as prevent unintended consequences such as hurtfeelings or court battles.

Remember, disinheritance is a decision not to be taken lightly. Even ifyou do it for the right reasons, it can turn ugly if not done properly. 

At Idaho Estate Planning we are the experts youneed to know and trust. Work with us and we'll put together a plan that worksfor you and your loved ones. Remember, good planning is no accident.


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