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How to Disinherit Your Adult Child


It is a difficult decision to come to, yet it may be right to disinherit a loved one, leaving them no money or property in your will. Disinheriting someone is an extreme measure, but it may be necessary if your child or grandchild abuses drugs and may use the resources to continue their addiction. It may be necessary if a relative has proven, for years, that they cannot responsibly handle a great deal of money. In many cases, your relationship with your family member may have been estranged for years, in which case you feel no need to involve them in your estate. Whatever your reason, you need to speak with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney to ensure you properly disinherit the individual and that they have no room to dispute your will during probate.

Where Florida Law Stands on Disinheritance

You are not obligated under Florida law to leave anything to your children or grandchildren. The only restrictions you may face on this is if a previous court order or contract requires you to leave them certain money or property. For example, a divorce order or pre- or post- nuptial agreement may require certain minimum provisions for your children in your will.

You Must Have a Will

If you intend to disinherit a child or grandchild, you must have at least a will in place. If you pass away without a valid will, then that individual may benefit according to Florida’s intestacy laws. You will have no control over whether they obtain funds or property or not. An experienced estate planning lawyer like Larry Bray may also advise using other estate planning tools, such as trusts, to ensure a relative is entirely disinherited.

You Must Explicitly State Your Intent to Disinherit

In your will, you need to make your wishes explicitly known. You must clearly state that your intent is to fully disinherit a specific person. If you simply leave your child out, the court cannot determine your intent and this gives the relative room to ask for a portion of your estate. Also, you do not need to provide a reason for the disinheritance, and you should not. Giving your reason also opens the door for your family member to argue with the will in court. Whether or not they are successful, they will waste time and resources.

Do Not Leave a Relative $1

Some people think it is appropriate and effective to leave an heir $1.00. However, this is problematic on many fronts. First, it does not actually or clearly disinherit that person. Second, it makes that person a lawful beneficiary, who can then find out information about your estate. Third, it creates a number of unnecessary administrative steps for the personal representative of your estate. Fourth, it provides an opportunity for the beneficiary to not adhere to the probate process, drastically slowing down probate and causing a variety of problems for the representative and other beneficiaries.

Contact a Lawyer for Help

At the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, we understand that no one is eager to disinherit a child or grandchild. We hope you are able to avoid such circumstances. However, if you believe leaving nothing to a relative is the right choice for you and your other family members, then we will help you create a strong, enforceable estate plan. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.



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