Should I disinherit my child?

man sitting and a woman behind him

When creating an estate plan, it is common for individuals to distribute their estate equally among their children. However, in certain situations, parents intentionally decide to disinherit a child, excluding them from receiving a portion of their estate. When parents choose to disinherit a child, even if they believe they have valid reasons, they must keep in mind that this is a permanent decision that can cause a great deal of pain. Additionally, it can affect the disinherited child’s relationship with their siblings. That said, if your child has forgotten your birthday or you have strong political differences, that does not mean you should disinherit your child. However, in certain circumstances, disinheriting your child may be necessary. If you are considering disinheriting your child, contact a trusted Montgomery County Estate Planning Attorney who can help you navigate this complex process. 

Why would a parent contemplate disinheriting their child?

Firstly, people do not usually decide to disinherit a child easily. It is often challenging for a parent to disinherit their child, but in some cases, it is the only option. For example, parents with a child suffering from an extreme addiction or mental illness left untreated have legitimate reasoning for disinheriting their child. If their child suffers from alcoholism or drug addiction, they may exclude their child from receiving a portion of their estate because they do not want to give them the means to fuel their addictions. If the child has a gambling issue, they may drain their inheritance. Within weeks of receiving it, which may seem like a waste.

Additionally, a child who is irresponsible with money is likely not an ideal candidate to receive an inheritance because they will likely require help managing it. Regardless of the reasoning, there are alternative options to disinheriting a child. Instead of disheriting an irresponsible child, you can establish trust. With a trust, you will be able to appoint a trustee. Essentially, they will be able to provide financial assistance and manage the trust for that child.

Moreover, sometimes parents believe that they do not need to leave their children an inheritance because they already have financially successful. However, sometimes those that appear to be economically successful may not have the money they claim to have. Financial circumstances can change. That said, although your child may seem in good financial standing, you should still consider leaving them an inheritance as they may need it in the future.

Furthermore, if your loved one is physically, mentally, or developmentally disabled, they may be entitled to certain government benefits. When this is the case, they are usually only available to those with minimal assets. Parents will sometimes intentionally disinherit their disabled child to ensure they receive government benefits they may need now or in the future. However, you do not need to disinherit your child. Instead, you can create a special needs trust not to jeopardize government benefits.

If you are considering disinheriting your child, contact a knowledgeable attorney from JD Katz today who can help you make the right choices for your future.