Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Will contests are avoided as much as possible because no family wants their dirty laundry aired out in public to become tinder for the gossip mills. So what do you do if you thoroughly despise the spouse of one of your children and must disinherit your child to insure that the hated individual gets nothing?
There is no law saying you must like the chosen spouse of your offspring, but it is presumed that you like your child enough to usually include them in your estate. As a "natural object of your bounty," disinheriting a child should be taking extremely seriously. It is important to consider alternatives such as trusts so that the child can still inherit without the dreaded spouse being unjustly enriched during the marriage or in the case of a divorce. A testator may also simply skip the child and allow the next generation, the grandchildren, to inherit in the place of their parents.
You may not like their choice of spouse, but it was not your decision to marry them. A last will is not the forum to try to teach your child a lesson or to show them your ultimate disapproval. As a parent, you are inclined to protect them. A will or trust that shows them that though you may not agree with them, but you still love them, will resonate for many years to come.
See Cori A. Robinson, What To Do When You Hate Your Son-In-Law: A Practical Lesson In Estate Planning, Above the Law, March 12, 2019.
Special thanks to Carissa Peterson (Hrbacek Law Firm, Sugar Land, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.