We provide uncomplicated explanations and personally work to unburden you from the sense of worry about your legacy and the intricacies of tax concerns.

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Will
  4.  » Disinheritance tactics: What you should know

Disinheritance tactics: What you should know

On Behalf of | May 25, 2024 | Will |

There are lots of different reasons that a parent may choose to disinherit one of their children – and it’s not always an adversarial situation. For example, parents may choose to disinherit capable, successful adult children to leave more resources behind for their disabled sibling’s care, and the other children may be fully on board with that decision.

When disinheritance is likely to cause a dispute, however, parents often look for ways to make sure that their decision cannot be challenged and overturned. If this is your situation, here are a few things you need to know:

Leaving $1 to a child isn’t the best move

There’s a pervasive myth that says that the only proper way to disinherit one of your children is to leave them $1 in your will. That is supposed to demonstrate that your actions were intentional – rather than a mere oversight in a badly written will.

However, there are a lot of flaws to this approach. Leaving a child $1 can be seen as a deliberate insult, and spur them into action to contest the will. The disinherited child may claim that you were unduly influenced by their siblings, under some form or duress or lacked true mental capacity to understand what you were doing. With nothing to lose, they may see contesting your estate as a gamble that is worth it, especially if they can inflict a little emotional distress and financial harm on their other siblings for revenge. 

You also end up complicating the administrative work for the estate, since the executor must still treat the child who receives $1 the same as the child or children who receive the bulk of your estate. 

There are some effective disinheritance tactics, including the use of trusts to bypass probate entirely, gifts made during your lifetime to your other heirs and more. Exploring these options with legal guidance can help you find the method most effective for your needs.