Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Disinherit A Child

Question: I have a child who has led a lifestyle with which I disagree. I prefer not to provide for that child at my death. Can I disinherit that child by providing that he is only to receive $1.00? Answer: Adult children do not have a legal right to inherit your estate (minor children are often afforded some court protection depending on the state). You can leave your estate to anyone you desire and/or disinherit anyone you want to disinherit. If you want to disinherit a child, it is best to make it clear in your estate planning documents. Instead of leaving $1.00, it is common to acknowledge the existence of the child but state with certainty that you have intentionally decided not to provide an inheritance for that child. Comment: If you create a Will but fail to name the child as a beneficiary, the child could go into court and argue that you simply forgot about him. There are even some states that will protect a forgotten child. As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please let me know.


Steve Shane Head Shot for webSteve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates. You can connect with Offit Kurman via our BlogFacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn pages.  You can also sign up to received Law Matters, Offit Kurman’s monthly newsletter covering a diverse selection of legal and corporate thought leadership content.