In California and most other states, residents have the right to disinherit anyone. In other words, it is legal to leave family members, including your children, out of your will.
If you are thinking about disinheriting a child or other relatives, that is your right. However, consider your situation carefully before rushing to disinherit someone that you love.
Why do people disinherit family members?
Sometimes, parents seek to disinherit children because they gave them their inheritance while still alive. Other times, the reasons are personal and can vary widely. Three personal reasons for leaving relatives out of a will include:
- Conflict: When disputes between family members become insurmountable, some choose to handle the situation through disinheritance.
- Education: If a loved one always overspends or wastes, a parent may disinherit them to teach them how to use and appreciate money.
- Estrangement: In situations where the parent and the child have had virtually no meaningful relationship with each other, the parent may choose to disinherit them.
If you ultimately decide to leave a child or other relative without an inheritance, you must do so expressly in your will. It is not enough to leave them out of the document altogether. Instead, you must state your desire and intent to disinherit the individual in your will documents.
Remember this – if you disinherit any family member and then change your mind and want to leave them something, it is critical to revise your will immediately. If you die before changing your will, it will be too late for you and your heirs to change the course of fate.
We also suggest learning more about estate planning and will creation before you make your final decision.