Sometimes our relationships do not always go the way we would like. If you are considering disinheriting one of your children (or even all of them) here are a few things you might want to consider.
Think Long and Hard About it.
Disinheriting a child (which you can do in all states except Louisiana) is a very serious thing to do. It is a drastic step to take, and is often a very emotional one, so be certain to consider your reasons very carefully before doing anything. (You cannot disinherit your spouse —unless you live in Georgia— unless your spouse agrees to it in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.)
Think about the financial and emotional consequences that disinheriting a child, grandchild or other heir will have on both of you. For one thing, it is sure to cause pain to the person being disinherited — and possibly to the rest of your family, especially if the disinheritance causes that person to contest your Will.
For another thing, it may cause the person being disinherited to suffer financially — which may not be what you intended to do. For example, if they were counting on the inheritance for a particular purpose (like college).
Don’t Use Disinheritance as a Means of Manipulation.
Very often clients talk about disinheriting a child or other heir because they don’t like something the child is doing or not doing. But manipulating people with money is not good for you or for the other person. Besides, do you really want someone to stay in a relationship with you just because they want your money?
On the other hand, you can have very valid reasons for not wanting to leave money outright to a child or grandchild or other heir who is, for example, a spendthrift or has a gambling, drug or alcohol problem. It is understandable that you would not want to support an addition or other problem with your hard-earned money. But there are better ways to handle these situations than by disinheriting the person. To find out more about estate planning options, consult with capable and experienced trusts and estates counsel.
Consider Making a Trust.
If you are dealing with a situation where your child or other heir is irresponsible with money or has a drug, alcohol, or other problem, instead of disinheriting them, consider setting up a lifetime trust for the heir’s benefit.
Trusts can be as flexible as you need them to be and here at Esser, Bradley and Khalsa, PLLC, we can tailor the trust to fit your needs and that of your heir. For example, if you are concerned that your heir will simply “blow through” their inheritance, consider creating a trust that gives the trustee specific instructions about how and when to make distributions to your heir. Trusts have even been set up to deal with an heir’s drug habit by giving the trustee the power to conduct drug tests and withhold distributions if the test comes back positive.
If there are concerns about one child having more financial need than others, we can handle that too. A “Sprinkle trust” allows the trustee (often a financial institution) to periodically review the financial needs of all the heirs and adjust the payments to them.
With a little teamwork and creativity, we can find a way to accomplish your goals for your troublesome heir that does not include taking the drastic step of disinheriting him or her.
Or, if you insist, we can help you disinherit your heir while reducing as much as possible the chance of a will contest.
We are Here For You.
We are experienced trusts and estates attorneys. We offer free consultations, we serve all of Arizona, and we can help you provide and plan for your loved ones. Call us at 928-282-1483 or contact us here.