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Principled Advocacy For Families And Individuals With Disabilities And The Professionals Who Serve Them

Do you have the right to leave a close relative out of your will?

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2021 | Estate Planning

As you make your estate plans, you may wonder if you’re allowed to leave one of your would-be-heirs out of that will entirely. You do not want to leave your assets to them, even if they expect it. 

Regardless of your feelings, they have a claim to your estate as a direct relative. Perhaps they are even one of your children. Can you leave them out of the plan if you want, anyhow?

Yes, you certainly do have this right. You can disinherit any heir that you choose, and for any reason. Even if your heirs expect to be included or expect the estate plan to equally divide assets among all involved, there is no legal requirement that you do so. The choice is entirely yours.

How do you go about disinheriting an heir?

One way that people do this is by leaving that heir a small inheritance. For instance, you may want to cut your middle child out, so you do it by leaving them a dollar. This way, they can’t say their exclusion was an accident (that you forgot about them entirely or some mistake was made when the will was drafted). What you wanted to do is very clear. 

That being said, you don’t have to leave them anything at all. If you’re worried about a contested will, you can add a disinheritance clause. This essentially just states that you are not leaving them any part of your estate and that doing so is an intentional choice. They may complain, but there’s no question about what you wanted to do. 

Remember that these types of estate plans are often controversial. Be sure you set everything up properly so that your wishes are protected and your hard-earned assets go where you direct.