It is most common for parents to divide inheritance of property or money to be divided equally among the children. But sometimes, parents intentionally choose to not leave anything to a child, and the reasons for doing so may vary. One reason could be that a child who is more financially successful than the others and the parent doesn’t feel it’s necessary to leave anything. Another reason may be a desire to prevent a child with special needs from losing government benefits. Or a parent may not want to leave an inheritance to an irresponsible or drug-dependent child for fear the inheritance will be wasted.
The Effects of Disinheriting a Child
Regardless of the reason, disinheriting a child can negatively affect that child’s relationship with his or her siblings. The courts are full of siblings who sue each other over inheritances but even if they don’t sue, it is highly unlikely they will be a close family unit. Money aside, there is symbolic meaning to receiving something from a parent’s estate.
Disinheriting a child for what may seem to be a valid reason may actually be completely unnecessary. For example:
How we choose to include our children in our estate plans has lasting effects, both positive and negative. Choosing not to disinherit a child who has caused grief and heartache sends a message of love and forgiveness, while disinheriting a child, even for what seems to be good cause, can convey a lack of love, anger and resentment.
If you have previously disinherited a child and you have since reconciled, update your plan immediately. If you wish to disinherit a child, it may be wise to tell that child and explain the reasons why. Doing so may help deter the child from blaming siblings later and may prevent a costly court battle.
Regardless of your desires about how you want to leave an inheritance to your children, grandchildren or other loved ones, we can help. Give us a call to schedule time for a private conversation about your wishes, and we will make sure your wishes are properly documented. Please contact our office at 1 (941) 441-9193.
The information on this website is for education purposes only and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. An attorney consultation is necessary for you to receive advice regarding your particular situation.