Can I Leave my Child Out of my Will?
Parents have different reasons for disinheriting a child in their Last Will and Testament. Sometimes parents believe it is in the child’s best interest to not receive an inheritance or perhaps a parent knows the asset will be wasted rather than put toward something important.
Laws Protect Unintentionally Disinheriting Children
Estate laws assume that parents do want to leave something to their children though and the laws are written to protect a child who might be unintentionally left out of a parent’s will. If a child is not mentioned in a will document, the court assumes there was a mistake and the court may provide some portion of the estate assets to the child (or equally among children). In order to assure that the court understands a parent is intentionally not naming a child, the will document should expressly state that the child exists and the child is not receiving any estate assets.
Name the Child in Your Will
Some may consider leaving a small amount of money to make sure the child and the court understand that there is no mistake being made on the minimal inheritance. For example a parent might leave a child one dollar just to make sure the court knows the disinheritance is intentional. This can create a lot of unnecessary paperwork for the personal representative though who is responsible for distributing assets according to the will and closing the estate. The best way to handle the circumstance is to explicitly mention the child and state the child is to receive nothing.