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Law Offices Of Dwight W. Clark L.L.C.
Law Offices Of Dwight W. Clark L.L.C.

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Local 410-505-8680 | Toll Free 888-523-6081

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Why would you leave a dollar in your will?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Many people draft a will where they leave equal distributions to all of their beneficiaries. Someone with $100,000 and four children may leave them all $25,000, for example. This often helps to reduce the odds of an estate dispute. 

But equal distributions are not legally necessary. People can divide up an inheritance in any way that they want. In fact, there are some cases where people will leave only a single dollar to a certain beneficiary. Why would they do this?

They are disinheriting that beneficiary

The main reason to leave someone only a single dollar is just to disinherit them. They are being cut out of the estate plan. The rest of the $100,000 – in this hypothetical example – will go to their siblings or other beneficiaries.

So why not leave them nothing? If they are simply omitted from the will, they may claim that they were forgotten. By leaving them a single dollar, it proves that this was intentional.

That said, doing this isn’t necessary and isn’t always recommended. Rather than leaving someone a dollar, you could just use a disinheritance clause. All you really need to do is demonstrate that you are intentionally cutting them out of your estate plan so that they can’t claim it was a mistake or that it wasn’t what you intended. Leaving them a dollar may be more likely to start an estate dispute or cause hard feelings between the beneficiaries, whereas a disinheritance clause can accomplish the same goal. 

There are many different things to consider when deciding how to draft your estate plan. Be sure you carefully consider all of your legal options.