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Must you name your grandchild (or grandchildren) in your will, if you've never met them and don't know their names?

Fort Worth, TX |

We believe my husband has a grandchild or two, but we do not know their names and have never seen them, as he has no relationship with either of his children. Most wills we have seen require you to name your grandchildren in your will, or the courts can assume the omission was an oversight and award them an inheritance from your estate. We do not want that to happen. So what we did was state the following in my husband's will, "To my knowledge I have no grandchildren now living by the children named above." And "If I do not leave property in this will to one or more of my children named above or to one or more of my grandchildren (if I have any grandchildren by the children named above), my failure to do so is intentional." Will this suffice to prevent them from obtaining an inheritance?

Attorney Answers 3


If this is important to you then I would strongly suggest that you consult with a Fort Worth estate planning attorney to get it done correctly! Perhaps you would want to have the assets placed into a trust so that they do not go through probate court at death. A probate and estate planning attorney can give you the best suggestions based on your assets and family situation.

Good Luck!

Legal Disclaimer: Paul A. Smolinski is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois only, and as such, his answers to AVVO inquiries are based on his understanding of Illinois law only. His answers are for general information about perceived legal issues within this question only and no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to extend any right of confidentiality between you and Mr. Smolinski, to constitute legal advice, or create an attorney/client or other contractual relationship. An attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement including an evaluation of the specific legal problem and review of all the facts and documents at issue. We try to insure the accuracy of this information, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. The reader should never assume that this information applies to his or her specific situation or constitutes legal advice. Therefore, please consult competent counsel that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.

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Only in Louisiana is there a requirement to give portions of the estate to specific persons as a matter of law (so called "forced heirship"), except for the spouse. In all states a spouse has rights to take at least a portion of the estate of the deceased. In 49 states, other than the spouse there is no requirement to leave a portion of the estate to anyone, related or unrelated. There is also no requirement to name your grandchildren in your will. Sounds like you're writing your own wills and listening to old wives tales about what is and isn't required in a will. I recommend you talk to an attorney to get good advice.

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Anyone who tries to draft language for a Will themselves has a very high probability of failure. Common sense will not work. Texas does not have a forced heirship law. But, to be certain of accomplishing what you intend to accomplish it is necessary that you consult with an experienced Wills and Estate Planning attorney.

DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.

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