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Disinheriting family members? Do it legally

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2022 | Estate Planning |

You might have very good reasons to disinherit some or all of your family members. But if you fail to follow strict legal protocols, they could mount successful will challenges and still gain access to your estate.

But you can reduce those odds significantly by disinheriting them legally. Here’s how.

Include a “no-contest clause”

The first thing you need to know about a no-contest clause is that for it to work, you must leave your heirs at least something of value. In other words, a hundred dollars likely won’t do.

But might $1,000? It is certainly better to receive $1,000 than to receive nothing, but the size of your estate and the financial conditions of those potential heirs factor in as well. The idea is to make accepting the behest, however small, preferable to contesting it and getting zero.

Transfer property during your lifetime

If you don’t want a spouse or other relative to inherit what you leave behind, give the intended beneficiaries ownership rights now. Not only does it remove the property from your estate, but you also get the added benefit of seeing them enjoy it during your lifetime.

Plan ahead so your decision is legally sound

These are but two of several ways to deprive potential heirs of property you don’t wish them to have. There are others that might work as well. But the important thing to keep in mind is that there are legal steps that must be taken and consequences if those are followed to the letter.

As with most matters involving inheritance and the law, it is always prudent to understand how the laws apply to you and your particular situation.