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Can you legally disinherit your child in Colorado?

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2021 | Estate Planning |

People’s closest relationships are frequently the ones that hurt and disappoint them the most. You may have tried to be a good parent and to give your child every opportunity in life, only to have them grow into an entitled adult who resents you for their own failures. Perhaps you tried some tough love if they struggled in school or with criminal activity, only to have them completely cut you out of their life.

Unfortunately, not all parents maintain positive relationships with their children into adulthood. Even those who are on good terms with their offspring frequently recognize that their children may not handle a large inheritance well. Most children feel entitled to inherit their parents’ property. Does Colorado state law prevent you from disinheriting an estranged or troubled child?

Children don’t always have the right to inherit

If you die without a last will or estate plan, your children have a statutory right to inherit some of your property, just like your spouse does. Colorado intestate succession laws protect spouses and children.

However, if you create a last will with specific beneficiaries, your children don’t have a statutory right to any of your property. You can disinherit one child or even all of your children in favor of the next generation or a charitable organization.

How do you effectively disinherit a child?

Simply omitting someone’s name from your estate planning documents isn’t enough to effectively disinherit them. Especially if the birth of the child occurred after you created your last will, they could claim that their omission from the documents was an oversight and not intentional.

You will have to specifically mention by name the individual or people that you do not want to receive your property. Typically, going into detail about why in the last will itself is not necessary or particularly beneficial. However, outlining your intent to disinherit them is crucial.

Some people may find that an alternative approach, like a trust that limits how or why someone accesses their inheritance, is a better approach than outright disinheritance. Naming a conscientious trustee could prevent abuses of the inheritance your children receive.

Learning more about Colorado inheritance laws can help you plan your estate.