Personal Injury Cases: Moving on to Better Things

2 People You Cannot Totally Disinherit From Your Will

Hurt feelings, personal preferences, disputes — there are all kinds of reasons why people choose to disinherit someone from their will. If you have decided that you want to take someone out of your will who would otherwise be a logical heir, you should probably talk to an attorney so they can lead you through the process.

The truth is, disinheriting someone from your will isn't always as easy as it sounds. Yes, it is your money and property, but state laws can overrule your will designations in special circumstances. Here's a look at two people you may not be able to totally disinherit from your will. 

1. Your Minor Child or Children

Maybe you feel like your spouse makes enough to support your children and they are not in your life or possibly there's an ex-spouse involved whom you want to step up to the plate after you're gone. Disinheriting your minor children from your will may sound logical at the moment, but this is not something the court will allow once you have passed away. Because you have financial responsibility for your minor children, the court will overrule your will if you have written them out and given everything you own to other family members.

There are different rules with adult children, and you can basically allocate your assets however you see fit. However, it is important that you make your wishes clear and decisive if you decide one of your children will get nothing and the other everything. If there are questions about your intentions for disinheriting one child and leaving the other, the child not left anything can contest the situation and could very possibly win. 

2. Your Spouse

Disinheriting a spouse can be an insanely tricky process. The laws do vary according to the state where you live, but most places treat a surviving spouse just as they would a spouse during a divorce. Your spouse has a certain level of entitlement to your assets as long as the two of you are married when you die. Therefore, if you write them completely out of your will because you want someone else to get your assets, they can easily go to court and contest the will to get their fair share of everything. 

Even common-law spouses could be entitled to their share of your property and assets in spite of the fact you are not legally married, especially in states that recognize common-law unions as a marriage. So be careful about living long-term with anyone you would not want in your will.

For more information on wills, contact your local trust service.