Unequal bequests can make things a bit more complicated when it comes to estate planning. Say that you have three children, and you know that all of them are expecting to get an inheritance. You haven’t talked with them about it yet, but they know that you are fairly well-off, and you know that this expectation already exists.
However, you would like to leave one child out of your will. You would like the other two to inherit everything. Can you do so?
Make your intentions clear
First and foremost, yes, you are allowed to do this. Just because someone expects to inherit does not mean they are entitled to do so. You can leave one child out of your will or, if you wanted, you could leave them all out.
However, because they are related to you and did expect to receive something, they may have the ability to start an estate dispute. For instance, if you just don’t list them in the will and don’t leave them anything, they may claim to the court that you obviously just forgot to put those details in your estate plan. If this claim is successful, they may still be able to inherit, even though that isn’t what you wanted.
The key, then, is to make your intentions as clear as you can. You could do this by using a disinheritance clause. You can also do it by providing other types of letters or written instructions in your estate plan. The key is to ensure that all of your heirs know exactly what you want, thus removing this grounds for a will contest.
Talk to your heirs in advance
One other thing to consider is that you may want to discuss your decision with all of your heirs in advance. This gives them a chance to ask questions and get explanations.
For instance, you may be leaving that heir out because they are well-off financially. You don’t want them to feel insulted and you’re not cutting them out of the estate plan because you’re angry with them. You just know that they do not need the money, while their siblings really do. Explaining this reasoning may be enough to keep a will contest from happening.
What should you do next?
It is possible to create an estate plan that does almost anything you’d like. Just make sure you know what legal steps to take.