Disinheriting someone means cutting them out of your will even if they would have otherwise expected to be in that estate plan. For instance, simply not leaving money to a family friend doesn’t mean that you’re disinheriting them. They should not have expected to receive money or other assets, even though you could have named them as a beneficiary if you wanted to do so. There’s no legal expectation that you would have done so.
But, if you’re cutting one of your biological children out of your will, they would have expected to inherit. You are actively disinheriting them by deciding not to leave them anything. You can do this simply by not mentioning them in your will or your estate plan at all, but it’s often wiser to use a disinheritance clause.
The benefits of the proper paperwork
The first benefit of using the right paperwork to disinherit someone is that it makes your intentions very clear. Your estate plan is supposed to be a guideline for your heirs. It tells them what you want to happen, and then your estate administrator ensures that it does happen. This disinheritance clause helps to spell out your wishes for the administrator.
The second benefit is that, since your wishes are now well known, it lowers the odds of an estate dispute. If an heir was not mentioned in your will, they may believe that it was an accident and dispute the validity of that will. They could claim that you must have forgotten to include them, for instance, even though they believe you certainly meant to. It was an oversight, they will claim, and they should still inherit.
But if they are mentioned in the disinheritance clause, then they know that you truly didn’t mean to leave them nothing. It wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t an oversight. There is no grounds for a dispute, at least not for these reasons.
Setting it up
It is quite important to do all of your estate planning correctly to limit the odds of a dispute, so be sure you know what steps to take. With proper planning in advance, you can set things up to go smoothly for your family.