HOW (AND WHY) TO DISINHERIT A CHILD OR GRANDCHILD
Completely disinheriting a child or grandchild should be reserved for extreme circumstances. And, if those circumstances exist in your family, it’s critical to ensure that you have taken the proper planning steps so that you are not leaving your loved ones with a guaranteed lawsuit or other conflict after you are gone. If you or someone you know is considering disinheriting a child or grandchild, please continue to read on.
First, let’s identify when it is a good idea to disinherit a child or grandchild, and when it is not. Disinheriting a child or grandchild to punish them for a lifestyle choice you do not agree with is usually not the best course of action. Instead, consider whether it may be time to release your need to control the people you love with your assets, and in its place, recognize that each person deserves to be accepted and loved for the choices they are making.
If the lifestyle choice you disagree with is something like a drug, alcohol or gambling addiction, which could be exacerbated by an inheritance, consider creating a trust that would allow your assets to be used for treatment programs, and that may even incentivize positive behavior. We can help you draft appropriate provisions into your trust to address a scenario like this.
If you are considering disinheriting a child or grandchild because you are concerned that they may squander or misuse their inheritance, or could even possibly lose the inheritance to a future spouse or divorce, we can prepare a special trust that would allow you to leave the inheritance to your child or grandchild and keep it protected from future spouses or divorces, ensuring the inheritance stays in your family lineage, no matter what.
Finally, if you truly do want to disinherit a child or grandchild, be sure to do it very carefully so as not to create unnecessary family conflict. Do not attempt to do this on your own. Be sure to document your capacity and that you are making the choice to disinherit based on your own free will so that the disinherited family member cannot challenge the disinheritance, claiming incapacity or duress.
After you have made these difficult decisions, make sure you review your estate plan every 1-3 years to ensure your wishes still align with your legal documents. Families are dynamic, so you should refresh your estate plan at regular intervals or after significant changes in your family take place, such as births, deaths, or marriages.
Because the decision to disinherit a child or grandchild requires significant consideration, you should not make it alone. Consult with us to help you clarify your wishes and include them in your estate plan, so they are legally enforceable and do not create additional conflict.
Working with us when considering disinheriting a child or grandchild will ensure you make the wisest decision and that your wishes will be followed when you die. If you are considering this significant decision, meet with us for guidance. We can help you articulate your wishes and include them in a comprehensive estate plan so your desires—and your beneficiaries—are clear.
At Kira Doyle Law, we don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. Begin by calling our office in St. Petersburg, Florida, at 727-537-6818 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Estate Planning Attorneys today!