How To Disinherit A Child Or Relative


Disinheriting a child or close relative may be difficult and may in some cases not be possible. In any event this is a drastic measure and should not be undertaken lightly.

Most states have laws that prohibit disinheriting your spouse unless the spouse has agreed to this action by signing either a pre-nuptial agreement or a post-nuptial agreement.

Without an agreement from the spouse waiving the right to inherit the spouse is entitled to either their bequest under the will or the statutory amount set by the state. Each state has a statutory amount to which the spouse of the deceased is entitled and depending on the state this amount usually ranges from one third to one half of the estate value. If the statutory amount set by the state is more than what is allocated in the will the spouse may take the statutory amount instead of the bequest set forth in the will.

Minor children also may not be disinherited and in many states you cannot disinherit children with disabilities. At the present time you may disinherit adult children in every state except Louisiana.

If you plan to disinherit an adult child be sure you specifically mention in the will that you are not leaving anything to that person so it will be known leaving the child out of your will is not an oversight.


If you are not leaving anything to a child because that child is in a better financial situation than his siblings you might want to mention that fact so the disinherited child understands and does not feel you are just trying to hurt him. Bear in mind that financial situations do change and at the time the will is adjudicated the financially solvent child may have had a reversal of fortunes and not be in a better financial position than the other children.

If you are hesitate to leave assets to a child you think will quickly squander his inheritance you can put his share into a trust administered by a trustee who will oversee the disbursement of these funds.

Disinheriting a child or close family member can cause a great deal of hurt in the family. Be sure you are excluding someone from your estate for the right reasons.

Make sure the beneficiary designations on your insurance policies and financial asset accounts are correct to carry out your wishes.

If you are very wealthy and have some other relatives who may cause a problem if they do not inherit anything it may avoid a problem from a legal challenge to the will if you leave them a small amount.

If you do not have a will when you die your estate will pass to your nearest relatives. Who they are, of course, will depend on your family situation and whether you are married or not and whether or not you have children. Your nearest relatives will be your spouse, children, parents, siblings and if none of these then your aunts, uncles and cousins.

You need to consult with an attorney experienced in estate planning issues when you want to draft complex will. The attorney can determine if what you want to do is possible and the attorney can draft the will for you in accordance with your wishes and the laws of the state where you reside.