For many testators, the primary focus of estate planning will be deciding how to protect their assets and choosing who receives which property from their estate.
Some people who have more complicated relationships with their family members may have other concerns, like how to write one of their children out of the estate plan without causing conflict or provoking a challenge against their last will.
Disinheriting family members other than spouses is possible with proper planning and will require changes to estate documents.
You can omit children and other family members from your generosity when you die
Some people mistakenly think that parents cannot disinherit their children. While that may be true in other countries, that is not the case here in Maryland.
Spouses often have the right to inherit certain property regardless of what a last will says, but children only have inheritance rights if someone dies without a last will. You have the option of adjusting your estate plan to remove someone that you no longer want to inherit your assets.
What must you change to disinherit someone?
Obviously, your last will or trust documents need an update. You will want to not just remove the name of the person you plan to disinherit but to specifically mention that they should not receive any of your property. In fact, many testators choose to add a special letter to their estate plans explaining their decision to disinherit specific family members.
Ensuring that you remove all beneficiary designations naming that individual in every document is important, as is affirming their removal in a letter so that they can’t claim the omission was accidental. Making drastic changes to your last will, like disinheriting a child, requires planning and careful compliance with estate planning best practices.