June 16, 2022
Disinheriting a Child – When Is it Appropriate? | Michigan Will Lawyer
As a Michigan will lawyer, I know that disinheriting a child is a difficult decision for most parents. To complicate matters further, the law does not necessarily make it easy for a parent to disinherit a blood heir.
With that in mind, there are numerous factors parents should consider before making the decision to disinherit a child. There are benefits and disadvantages, and both are explored here.
When Disinheriting a Child May Be Advisable
While it may be painful for a parent to accept that their relationship with their child has deteriorated to the point that disinheriting them is an option, there are still advantages to doing so.
A common reason for disinheriting a child is that the child struggled with alcohol or drug abuse and/or engaged in criminal behavior throughout their life. Perhaps they have struggled with handling money throughout their life, such as with a gambling addiction. In these instances, it may be beneficial to your child to not include them in the will, as it may just exacerbate their problems.
Another circumstance when disinheriting a child could be appropriate is if you have a child with a disability or handicap who may rely on aid from the state or federal government. Sometimes the guidelines for these types of benefits are restrictive enough that there is a risk of losing the benefits if the disabled or handicapped child comes into wealth from their parent’s estate. While it may seem inappropriate or just downright distasteful to do this, especially after caring for your disabled or handicapped child throughout their life, there are other options to continue to provide for them, such as with a supplemental needs trust.
The Disadvantages of Disinheriting
While parents are free to distribute their wealth and assets as they see fit, cutting your child out of the will may still be devastating for your child, depending on your relationship and other circumstances. Disinheriting a child can also negatively impact the child’s other relationships with family members, particularly siblings, if those siblings inherit.
Other negative aspects of disinheriting a child include the following:
- There could be a lawsuit. After all, the disinherited child has nothing to lose at this point. They will look to negate the valid will on technical grounds, such as whether you were of sound mind when executing the will or trust. Other legal challenges can include accusations of duress, undue influence, and fraud.
- On some occasions, a child has been disinherited or left out of their parent’s estate because they are wealthy and do not need the money, and perhaps a sibling does. However, everyone’s circumstances can change and change suddenly. The well-off child may not be well-off at the time of your demise.
A Michigan Will Lawyer Can Help
If you’re considering disinheriting a child or have other concerns about any of your beneficiaries, you should consult with an estate planning lawyer. An experienced lawyer can help ensure your estate plan is free from any potential legal challenges and can also help you weigh all of your options and propose alternatives to disinheriting, if necessary. For assistance getting started, contact our law firm at 844-885-4200 to schedule a consultation.
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