Written by attorney Stephen A. Mendel

Can I Exclude My Children in My Will?

The simple answer is yes. While it is almost impossible to disinherit your spouse without his/her written consent under US law, all states except Louisiana allow you to disinherit your children.

But even though it’s allowed, that doesn’t mean the courts approve. To be able to intentionally disinherit your children, they should be:

  • Over 23 years of age.
  • Mentally and physically capable of taking care of themselves and managing their finances. A child who in incapable of making a living for himself due to medical or physical limitations at the time of the death of his parent cannot be disinherited

You must state the intent to exlucude your child

You should also note that if you plan to exclude your children in your Will, you must clearly state that intent. The courts don’t encourage excluding your offspring and merely omitting your child from the list of heirs will not suffice. If your Will does not specify that you willingly do not want to leave anything for your child, s/he can contest the validity of the document.

Thus, the Wills, in which you are intentionally omitting to mention anything for your child, will always have language on the following lines:

  • “I have previously taken care of my son Sam during my lifetime, and have chosen to leave nothing to him in this Will"
  • “I am leaving nothing to my daughter Michelle, for reasons best known to both of us."

We at the Mendel Law Firm , can help you uncover your options and choose the strategy that is best for you.

Additional resources provided by the author

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. 1155 Dairy Ashford, Suite 104 Houston, TX 77079 O: 281-759-3213 F: 281-759-3214 Email: [email protected] Other Source Information: Co-Author, Guiding Those Left Behind in Texas (2006) Contributing Author, Total Wealth Management (2004) Contributing Author, Love, Money & Control (2003) Contributing Author, Strictly Business (2002)

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