Monday, July 21, 2008

Disinheriting A Child

You are a parent with several children and wish to disinherit one of the children. How exactly is this handled in the drafting of the last will? The bequests to family members generally fall into two categories: (a) specific bequests (i.e., "I leave my 1969 red Corvette to my brother John") and (b) residuary bequests (i.e., "I leave the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate to my children in equal shares, per stirpes"). Instead of naming, as a class, "my children" for any bequest in the will, you would identify by name each child who is a beneficiary and omit the name of the child you wish to disinherit. Finally, to show that the omission of this child from your will was intentional, it is customary to add a line similar to the following to your last will:
I acknowledge that I have a son named Brian who is not provided for in this will. It is my specific intention to not provide for Brian under the terms of my will. See A Practical Guide to Estate Planning and Administration By Michael Gau (2004) p. 37
If your last will document has a "Miscellaneous" section, you can put the above language there or, as an alternative, in the same section where the other children are named as beneficiaries. Are there provisions in the law allowing a child to petition the probate court to be added back as a beneficiary of the estate despite the will language? Absent a claim of mental incapacity on the part of the testator at the time the will was executed, the only provision of the Uniform Probate Code that comes to mind is Section 2‑302. Omitted Children. However, Section 2-302 only applies to a situation where "a testator fails to provide in his [or her] will for any of his [or her] children born or adopted after the execution of the will ... ." The intentional omission of a child is, by definition, different than a pretermitted heir. Thus, Section 2-302 would not help a child intentionally disinherited.

21 comments:

jjray said...

William F. Buckley Jr. disinherited his grandson (who was born out of wedlock to his son Christopher). According to press reports, this is the language Buckley used to disinherit his grandson named Jonathan: "I intentionally make no provision herein for said Jonathan, who for all purposes . . . shall be deemed to have predeceased me." Link.

Anonymous said...

If you are a parent and are thinking about disinheriting a child - Please think carefully about the consequences to the family in the future. He was disinherited for telling the truth while his siblings lied when their mother asked. There is now no contact between them. Towards the end she stated several times that she had changed her mind and the older son said it was taken care of - but alas - he lied again. Greed is a horrible thing.

Anonymous said...

How about this one? Provide for all your children in your will - put most of your assests into annuities and exclude one of them as beneficiaries of the annuities, essentially disinherting one of the children, but making it look like via the will that there is no disinheritance at all. Talk about deceitful! This is what happened to me - and I had no idea until both of my parents had passed away. Very little of their assests are being distributed via the will. I was shocked to find out I had been excluded from the bulk of their estate. Wish I had known before they passed as I have no idea why they did this. I really, really would like to understand why they would do something like this and now I can't ask them and find out. They never mentioned excluding me as a beneficiary to me or any of my siblings. I had a good relationship with both parents, but was the only girl in the family.

Anonymous said...

Eventually you may discover that it was a sibling behind it. I'm sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

To annonynous who doesn't know why they were left out of the will. Think hard. I am about to do it to my son, and I am sure he too will have no clue. Mean people rarely recognize why they are being excluded. If they knew, they would have never done the terrible deeds all along.

Anonymous said...

My daughter and I have come to a tragic end to our once loving relation. She is now twenty five, refuses to try and make it on her own, has for the past few years continued to lie and steal from her mother and I and has become verbally and physically violent to us. I have tried to get her some help and she continually refuses then proceeds to yell and scream at us trying to make us feel that we are the problem. One of the things that has brought me to the decision of disinheriting her is that after we discovered that she had been stealing from us we found that she had in fact been pawning all of her jewelry and other gifts that she had been given over the years as well as selling things of ours that had been handed down from mine and my wife's family. When confronted through her yelling and screaming she said that nothing we had or things given to her meant anything so that is why she did it.. As for my decision to not leave her anything I am convinced she would continue to do the same and sell off any and all family heirlooms. I have sat down to write this just after another round of total disrespect from her which started over money. It seem that current job puts about $650.00 in her account every other Friday. On monday she had gone through the in tire amount an again taking things and demanding money from me to the point of becoming totally disrespectful and verbally abusive. I tell other family members of this and they ask if she is involved in drugs.... I honestly don't think so as I have tried to determine this for sometime and have found no evidence of this. So it has come down to this... I fear that if I don't take this action that if and when my wife and I pass all of the money we worked so hard for over the years and all of or precious and cherished belongings will be just taken by her squandered ..... What do you guys think..... It was great to just be able to get it out to gain some perspective......

jjray said...

To anonymous of 4-3, yours is not really a legal question. It appears you already know what action to take.

Anonymous said...

I can relate very well to your situation, (Anonymous with 25 year old daughter.)I have a large family but one of my children is selfish, rude, abusive and has us walking on eggshells all the time. it is heart wrenching to think that someone could have so little regard for the wonderful live you have given, and is so cruel and self centred, to the extent that she declares verbally and loudly that she wants us out of her life. She has had a privileged life, and really has spent far more of our resources than the others, due to needs and interests, but she demands more. She has also stolen from us and siblings. I cannot have her inherit what we have work endlessly hard for, when she refuses to work hard, and tries to cause chaos and hurt to her family constantly.I feel that she has taken her inheritance whilst we have lived, and she cannot continue to take from us, nor her siblings. Kindness costs nothing, but is rewarded, petty minded hurtful behaviour can't be rewarded. She wants us out of her life? She maybe very sorry for her cruel deference.

Anonymous said...

I was disinherited by my mother for leaving the church she felt was best
I am an active member of my own faith
My father died first
He left everything equally to all 7 children
Now my whole family is lost to me because they all took the money and forgot about me.

Anonymous said...

My father disinherited my sister and myself (children of his first marriage) when he married his second wife. He's now leaving everything, including a house bought with funds he inherited from my grandfather who died years before my father even met this woman, to her. He listed his new wife's 2 children as being of the same importance to him as his own (talk about slap in the face). He gave me the documents on my way to the airport after a lovely week-long visit with him, like "thanks for coming, great to see you, btw you're disinherited." He is a worthless, narcissistic scumbag that I now hate with a passion beyond knowing. I hope he burns in hell, right along with his new wife.

Parents, just a heads-up. If you disinherit your child, they will hate you so intensely it's guaranteed they will never want to see you or hear your scumbag name ever again.

Dakota57NM said...

Parents who consider disinheriting a child listen closely.

The effects of your efforts will create a divide between your offspring. The effect of that divide will go on for generations. Is it really worth it to know your grandchildred or great grandchildren will never have the opportunity to form extended family bonds? What a horrible thought, isn't it?
Perhaps consider stating the funds you plans to leave carry with it a requirement which a portion of their inheritance pays for such as getting counseling for a defined amount of time, drug counseling or attending college and maintaintaining a certain GPA until they have obtained a certain degree level of your choosing. Have their inheritance funds paid out in installments as long as their in compliance with the requirements you've set forth.

Also be very careful if a sibling, any sibling no matter how close you are to them, attempts to influence your opinion of any of your children.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
My sister & I where disinherited. The last 5 yrs of my Mother's life we didn't speak. My older sister had twisted my Mother around her little finger and lied to her over and over. In the end my
Mother asked to see my sister & I. Right after my Mother died my father & older sister banded us from the wake andd funeral mass. My sister & I have nothing, no even any of our childhood pictures or any memorable items of my Mother's. Even a precious moment figurine or Lenox collectible that my sister or I gave her thought the last 30 yrs. Things weren't always bad. It's a sad thing to know she request us there in the end and we were treated like trash. If you are a parent take some advice Never hold inheritance over your kids head.

Anonymous said...

I was also disinherited due to favoritism in the family and as long as I live I don't want to see or hear from any of the remaining family members. I didn't even bother going to my parents funerals and have never visited their graves either. I am hurt that they did this to me and it has GREATLY affected my life.

Anonymous said...

My father has recently passed, his will is just now being sent to the family, there are 9 of us.

Two of my brothers and one sister have been left a few paltry dollars while the rest of us are left to share in the rest.

My fathers reasons for doing what he did are valid, however it still is not fair. It has been put forth that we all split it equally..only 2 of the remaing six agreed..it will not happen.

All I can say is..if you are disinherited, it is not the fault of your siblings...it is not their signature on the document. The only person that can answer questions is gone..perhaps you need to think about why you were written out. For my brothers it comes down to one left the family having no contact with us for 10 years and refused to answer my Moms dying phone calls..then had no contact with our father after mom died..for the other it is alcoholism..my father does not want to be the case of beer that kills his son. For my sister, she stole money frmm my parents for years and manipulated my mother into giving her thousands of dollars..Dad figured she had had her inheritance.

Even though these are valid reasons..I still believe that we should split the money..what happened happened no one can change that, I know there is going to be some hurtful words said and although we have never been a particularily close family this will rip it even further apart.

B. Smith said...

Much thought should be giving before you disinherit a child . This results can cause a problems between sibling that can go on for generations.

Anonymous said...

hello I have been disinherited too. what a surprise .. I worked all my life and I have 2 more years to go while my greedy only sister is rich. I will find out some day when I pass but I plan to get over this and be grateful I have the mental capacity to move on and realize it wasn't me I have some realy mentally sick people in my family who should have gotten help a long time ago god be with you doris..........

Anonymous said...

how can a lawyer, selected by dad's neighbors, draft a will disinheriting me his daughter and no mention of his son, my brother who died 20 years ago. My name was misspelled on the will. The will has been probated, he died in feb and some of my dad's friends found my number and told me of his death on father's day. ??? Crooked friends, crooked lawyer??

Anonymous said...

My mother has already distributed(given) property to my half sister and her 2 children and greatgrandchildren. Also she has left what property she has left to my nephew (half sisters oldest child). Now my mother has cancer and can not take care of herself 24 / 7. The ones who have inherited refuse to help. They havenot helped for 6 yrs now. The property was given in 2004, then they stopped doing or even visiting her since 2008. I alone am being her caregiver...thery refuse to help. I live next door to her but what I have I have worked and payed for. Nothing has been given to me or my children. I am starting to resent all of this. I am in my late 50's and my health (suppressed immune system) is not good. Mother refuses a nursing home and the rest refuse to help me. Can I legally somehow sue them for what they have done and are doing?

Trudy Nearn said...

It isn't too early to prepare a last will and testament. Accidents and sickness could come in by surprise. It would be easier for your bereaved family -- immediate or not -- to mourn for your loss without worrying about their future finances; a way to secure them financially.

Trudy Nearn @ GenerationsProbate

Tommy Gaston said...

I just had a Will drafted in Hawaii. Some States do not allow you to completely dis-inherit a child so you have to be specific in your will that the child you wish to disinherit is specifically named ti get the minimum amount that state law allows. If it'd really important to you try to arrange it so that you don't die in one of those States.

Tommy Gaston said...

My daughter has been nothing but cruel and selfish to my wife and me. My wife and I have specifically dis-inherited her in our will and have given EVERYTHING to our nephew. (HOUSE, CARS, LAND, BUSINESS, INVESTMENTS, STOCKS.... EVERYTHING!!! She will be devastated when this comes to pass but CARMA is a real bitch!