Is It Okay to Disinherit a Child?

Leaving an adult child out of a will is a personal decision that is often fraught with emotion and difficulty. It is perfectly legal to disinherit a child, however, it is a big decision. As with any decision of this magnitude, it's important you're doing it for the right reasons. Here are a few things to consider.

Will Your Child Understand Your Reasons?

In some cases, it makes sense to disinherit a child. Perhaps one of the child's siblings needs all the financial support you can leave behind. In other cases, family dynamics make it necessary to leave a child out of a will. For example, maybe your child is in a difficult marriage, and you want to make sure his or her spouse can never claim any property you leave behind. Whatever your reason, it's important to think carefully about how your child will perceive your decision.

Do You Also Need to Disinherit Your Grandchildren?

Sometimes, a parent wants to disinherit an adult child but still leave property behind for the child's descendants. For example, maybe the adult child has a drug problem, and the parent does not want to leave money behind that could enable the child to continue his or her addiction. At the same time, the parent worries that leaving money or assets to a minor grandchild will end up being seized or controlled by the child's parent - the disinherited child left out of the will in the first place. In these situations, it may make more sense to create a trust.

Is Your Child Likely to Contest Your Will?

Being left out of a will can be an extremely hurtful experience. Learning the contents of a parent's will is sometimes the last sort of "message" a child receives from a parent who has passed on. Consider whether your child will suffer emotional harm due to being left out of your will, especially if you have other children included in the will. Hurt feelings can quickly turn to anger, which can lead to a will contest that is both expensive and time-consuming.

St. Paul Estate Planning and Probate Lawyers

Do you have questions about creating a will that is fair and reasonable to your kids, but also protects your important goals? Call the Minnesota probate and estate planning attorneys at Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC today at (651) 968-1457 to talk about your estate planning or probate case. Our lawyers are here to help.

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