Estate Planning New Year’s Resolution: Disinheriting Ungrateful Family Members
In more innocent times, estate planning lawyers used to encourage people to set the estate planning goal of writing a will. As motivation, they cited ensuring that your family will be provided for after your death and being generous to the people and charities that you care about. Those were the old days. The COVID-19 pandemic and the long shadow it has cast have shown you the true colors of the closest people in your life. Who knew that the people closest to you could be so self-absorbed, so greedy, and so vindictive? For the past three years, you have opened your house and your wallet and gotten nothing in return but ingratitude and blame. This year, your goal is to write a will that shows the people who callously took advantage of your kindness during the pandemic that the party is over. It is legal to write virtually anyone you choose out of your will, and a Tampa estate planning attorney can help you get started on a path to financial freedom that lasts beyond the grave.
How to Disinherit a Family Member
If you do not write a will, your closest surviving relatives will inherit your estate. Therefore, your desire for one or more of your children or siblings not to inherit property from you can be a strong motivation to write a will. Likewise, if you have since become estranged from a family member who is listed as a beneficiary in the current version of your will, you can change this by writing a new will.
In your will, you should be as specific as possible about who will inherit what and who will inherit nothing. If an earlier version of your will exists, you should state clearly that the new version of your will invalidates all earlier versions. If you disinherit a family member in your will, then the only way that he or she can inherit from you is by persuading the probate court that the current version of your will is a fake or that you signed it under undue influence, for example, because the beneficiaries pressured you to sign it.
Is It Possible to Disinherit Your Spouse?
Your spouse is the most difficult family member to disinherit. Case in point, if one spouse dies while a divorce is pending, the other spouse inherits as if the divorce filing had never happened. If you indicate in your will that your spouse is to inherit nothing, he or she can still claim an elective share of your estate during probate. The only way to stop this from happening is to sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in which you and your spouse waive your elective shares of each other’s estates.
Contact David Toback With Questions About Estate Planning When Enough Is Enough
A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you write a new version of your will in which the family members who have exhausted your kindness do not inherit anything. Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.