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How and Why Would Someone Disinherit A Child?

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Why Would Someone Disinherit A Child?

There are several reasons why someone might want to disinherit their child in their Will.  Sometimes family members decide, due to familial issues or severance of relationships that they don’t want to provide for a child in their will.  In another instance, a child might have become very successful and the parent feels that they are secure in their finances enough so that the parent should provide for other, less financially stable children or persons.Attorney Brian C. Tanko - Las Vegas

There are usually no issues in disinheriting a child in a Will, as long as the disinheritance is delineated in the document explicitly.  The reason being, courts do not want children to be “accidentally” disinherited when it was not the original intention of the person drafting the Will. As a result, if your will does not mention your child, the law assumes that you simply made a mistake and include the omitted child in the distribution of your estate.

Can Minors be Disinherited?

There is exception to the rules of disinheriting a child in that a minor child should not be disinherited and most states provide for that exception by requiring a minor child to be taken care of, should the parents pass away, until he or she reaches the age of 18, regardless of the Will’s contents.

Children and Will Challenges

In a lot of cases, a child who is disinherited will challenge the disinheritance in court.  There are two ways that a child can challenge disinheritance in a Will:

A common and acceptable challenge to disinheritance of a child is that the parent lacked the mental capacity to disinherit the child, i.e. the parent did not know what they were doing or saying when they did not provide for their child.  Children often claim that another child, or person, caused influence on the parent and caused the disinheritance.  To safeguard against this type of challenge, a parent can provide specific reasons in the Will for the disinheritance.

Another argument against a disinheritance is that the document does not meet the legal requirements of a Will, however there are reasons and exceptions to the legal formality requirements.  To be safe, a parent should comply with all requirements of estate planning law and will drafting so as to avoid this challenge from any person.

Revoking a Disinheritance

Wills disinheriting a child, like all wills, can be revoked or cancelled by subsequent writing or physical destruction of the will.

For more information on disinheritance, Wills and Estate Planning contact Estate Planning Attorney Brian C. Tanko at Tanko Law in Kalispell, Montana or Las Vegas, Nevada at (702) 367-6636.

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