Attorneys

Steps for disinheriting children

If a parent wants to leave a child out of the will, he or she needs to consider the other options, the child’s state and the language used in the document.

New Yorkers working on their estate planning may have to decide how to split up their wealth and assets among their children. Some parents take an equal approach, whereas others try to split the inheritance fairly. In other words, if one child is a successful doctor, he or she may not get as much as his or her sibling who has yet to settle on a career. While this might not seem fair to the children involved, the parents can do whatever they want with their estate. Some parents even choose to leave a child out of the will completely.

Consider all of the options

Disinheriting a child, or any relative, is a huge decision that can have a great impact on the child's life. Before someone decides to completely write a person out of their will, they should consider all of the options, including the following:

  • Give another relative the power of appointment, which allows him or her to re-inherit the disinherited child.
  • Put money in a trust if concerned about unwise spending.
  • Set limits on the trust to ensure certain behaviors, like going to college or staying drug free, are met.

If a person has an unruly child, he or she may still be able to leave the child money without giving it directly to the child during the wild years.

Consider child's age and mental capacity

While most children can be disinherited, there are certain circumstances that might stop a person from writing a child out of his or her will. For example, minor children are entitled to financial support so long as there is money to be had. Similarly, children who have mental or physical disabilities may be entitled to some sort of support, similar to guardianship, from wealthy parents even after their deaths.

Consider the language

No matter what has led to disinheritance, whether the child is well-off or has a rocky relationship with the parent, the language in the will is an important consideration. For example, a person may choose to simply leave a child's name out of a will to indicate that particular kid gets not inheritance. However, judges may see an omission as a mistake. Judges can then re-split the assets to give the omitted child a piece of the pie. Not only does the person creating the estate plan have to make the disinheritance clear, he or she might also want to word it in a way that will not create animosity between the surviving children.

Writing children out of a will in New York can be challenging because there are so many things that have to be considered. No matter the nature of a person's estate, it may be beneficial to work with a knowledgeable attorney while drafting a will.