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’ve taken the proper planning steps so that you are not leaving your loved ones with a guaranteed lawsuit or another conflict after you are gone. Read on, if you are considering disinheriting a child or grandchild.
Disagreeing with a lifestyle choice
First, let’s get clear 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 instead 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 treatment.
Concerned about mismanagement or loss of assets
If you are considering disinheriting a child or grandchild because you are concerned that they may not make good use of their inheritance, or could even possibly lose the inheritance to a future spouse or divorce, I can support you in preparing 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, no matter what.
If you are considering disinheriting a child or grandchild because they have special needs issues and you want to ensure they qualify for governmental benefits, contact me because I can create workarounds to ensure that your inheritance can be used for their support and that they can qualify for governmental benefits.
Prevent unnecessary family conflict
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’ve 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 takes 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 me 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 me 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 me for guidance. I can help you articulate your wishes and include them in a comprehensive estate plan so your desires—and your beneficiaries—are clear.
This article is a service of the Law Office of Keoni Souza, LLC, an estate planning law firm in Honolulu, Hawaii. 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. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session, ™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by contacting our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.
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