There are a range of situations that could prompt a parent to disinherit a child. For example, some children completely ignore their parents. An extreme example is when an adult child tries to commit his parent to a mental institution. A more common example are situations where an adult child physically or financially abuses a parent. But what if you don’t have children? Some nieces and nephews of the will maker are just as awful as some of the wayward children described above. How do you disinherit any close family members and ensure that a will contest will be resolved as you wished?
- Hire legal counsel to draft your will or trust document. If you want to make sure that a family member will be disinherited as you wish in your will, especially if the disinherited person is your child, hire an attorney to draft your will or trust document. Do not rely on a handwritten or internet will. If they were difficult to manage while you were alive, they will be doubly difficult to control once you are dead. An errant child or nephew may try to challenge your will, even if they lose, to force the other children or family members to pay them off. Hate has a funny way of applying both ways.
- Provide details and instructions as to why you are disinheriting your child or family member to your executor. An executor of a will is responsible for submitting the will to probate and will be required to represent your wishes and defend you in court if your will is challenged. Leaving a written explanation as to why you were disinheriting your child or other family member will both explain and corroborate your decision. Demonstrating that your decision to disinherit a family member was a thoughtful process and not simply a rash act will ensure that your actual wishes are followed if challenged. Especially if the family member you are seeking to disinherit is combative with your other children or family members. Remove all doubt that another child or family member pressured you to disinherit the other family member.