Leaving an inheritance for your loved ones is an essential part of estate planning. Who you choose to leave an inheritance to is very important. Who you choose to disinherit is also important. Before you disinherit a family member from your estate, you should know which family members it is most difficult to exclude.
Who You Cannot Disinherit
You may choose to leave anyone you wish out of your Last Will and Testament. Any disinherited person may, however, have a reason to protest your decision and attempt to claim a portion of your estate. If a disinherited individual is awarded part of your estate it will affect the inheritance you have left to other loved ones.
The person you will have the most difficulty excluding from your Last Will and Testament is your spouse. If you are currently married, this person may have a claim of up to a third of your estate. If you are separated and facing a possible divorce, he or she may still have a claim since your estate has not been through a divorce settlement yet.
Ex-spouses, on the other hand, do not have a right to inherit. If you have left your ex on an estate document, your other heirs may be able to protest and receive that portion of the estate. It is best, however, to remove your ex from all estate documents as soon as possible.
Who You Can Disinherit
You can disinherit your children, other family members and non-family members. If, however, you choose to disinherit an immediate family member, you should include a statement in your Will declaring that person as disinherited. If you do not, your child may be able to protest your decision and receive a portion of your estate.
If you have not yet included a loved one in your Will, but plan to do so, you should as soon as possible. This person may have a right to seek part of your estate, but there is not guarantee he or she will win. It is always best to keep your estate documents up-to-date and include every loved one.