You shouldn’t feel guilty about disinheritance

Many clients tell me that they desire to disinherit a child but then feel compelled to explain why. I can tell they are embarrassed, almost guilty about this decision. I usually intervene in the conversation. There are a thousand reasons that they may have come to the decision to leave a child out of a Last Will and Testament. It is their will, their desires expressed from the grave.

A recent law review article identified 5 Tips for Disinheritance:

Tip #1: Hire Legal Counsel to Draft the Will or Trust Amendment

Tip #2: Establish a Paper Trail for why you are Disinheriting the Child

Tip #3: Be Careful About Stating a Reason in the Will for the Disinheritance

Tip #4: Consider not Telling the Child

Tip #5: Consider a Modest Bequest Coupled with a No Contest Clause

I would suggest you express intent to disinherit in the LWT. Otherwise, the disinherited child could argue there was a scrivener’s error e.g. the lawyer messed up in drafting. This actually happened to some clients of mine; although the Last Will was homemade in that case.