Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, June 25, 2018

How to Disinherit a Child: 5 Tips to do so Successfully

FightThe decision to disinherit can be a personal one and definitely should not be made lightly. If that fateful choice needs to be made due to irresponsibility, criminal activity, or another fitting reason, here are 5 tips that can used to guarantee that that it is successful.

  • Hire a Lawyer to Draft the Will or Trust Amendment
    • It is always a good idea to seek professional help when drafting a will or trust amendment, but in the case of something as drastic as disinheriting a child, the need is a certainty.
  • Establish a Paper Trail on Why You are Disinheriting the Child
    • Your executor or trustee will have an easier time if he or she has a trail of other evidence that you left that explains and corroborates your decision.
  • Be Careful About Stating a Reason in the Will for the Disinheritance
    • Saying "reasons that are personal to me" is a good idea if you would like to give a reason for the disinheriting. If a stated reason is found to not be 100%, the child could challenge your will.
  • Consider Not Telling the Child
    • This tip may not be good for everyone, but choosing to not tell the child could save some annoyance and aggravation of the child hassling you to put them back in the will.
  • Consider a Modest Bequest Coupled with a No Contest Clause
    • Bequeathing a smaller than expected amount with a no contest clause could serve your purpose while still giving something. It may deter a contest to the will by the child, and save the parent’s estate the hassle and legal fees in litigating to uphold the validity of the will.

See Will Sleeth, How to Disinherit a Child: 5 Tips to do so Successfully, Lexology, June 22, 2018.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.) for bringing this article to my attention



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