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Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > Blog > Estate Planning > How To Disinherit A Family Member With Minimal Drama

How To Disinherit A Family Member With Minimal Drama


You have the right to decide who will inherit your property after you die, and as such, you have the right to disinherit anyone you choose, but there is a wrong way to do it, and we can all imagine what it looks like.  Don’t storm out of a family gathering to rewrite your will so that the son, daughter, or grandchild who treated you inconsiderately gets nothing, while you lavish your legacy on the family members who constantly kiss up to you just so they can stay on your good side.  The decision about who inherits what should never be an impulsive one.  If you don’t have a will, you should write one now and formalize it immediately, but if you have one, you should rewrite it every year and only formalize the new version if it has stayed the same for multiple years.  As for how you should disinherit relatives, it depends on who you are disinheriting and why you are disinheriting them.  A Tampa estate planning lawyer can help you write relatives out of your will without exposing your family to unnecessary drama during probate.

Go Quietly If You Have Been Estranged for a Long Time

If you have not talked to a close family member, such as one of your siblings or children, in any years, then chances are, the family member already knows not to expect an inheritance from you.  It does nothing but reopen old wounds if you email your sister for the first time in ten years just to say, “Just so you know, you get nothing when I die, so don’t bother to file a claim with the probate court.”  At best, it will put you and your estranged sister in a bad mood for the rest of the day, and at worst, it will embolden her to lawyer up.

Giving Your Family Members Something Else Instead of an Inheritance

Writing family members out of your will does not always mean leaving them empty-handed.  Especially if you have been married more than once, you might account for different sides of the family in different ways in your estate plan.  You might make your current spouse the beneficiary of your will, but set up a trust for your children from your first marriage, or the other way around.

You Can’t Disinherit Your Spouse Unless You Both Sign a Prenup

Surviving spouses are the only people who have the right to override a decedent’s decision to write them out of their will.  They can petition the probate court for an elective share of the decedent’s estate.  If you want your spouse to waive this right, you can accomplish this through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Contact David Toback About Writing Family Members Out of Your Will

A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you strategize about disinheriting one or more relatives.  Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.



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