On February 24, 2016

How to Disinherit a Beneficiary

How to Disinherit a Beneficiary

While estate planning is about preserving legacies and protecting loved ones, it can also involve planning to specifically disinherit certain people. While there may be any number of reasons to disinherit certain parties (e.g., divorce or other fallings out), just how to go about disinheriting them will depend on the nature of their relationship to the grantor (i.e., the person who has developed the estate plan).

Disinheritance Strategies for Different Beneficiaries

  • For spouses – Disinheriting a spouse (i.e., someone to whom you are legally married) takes more than just omitting him or her from a will. In fact, given that state laws can entitle spouses to a significant portion of a decedent’s estate, disinheriting spouses can require a written agreement in which a spouse agrees to abandon or give up his or her inheritance rights.
    • Pro tip – If disinheriting a spouse is important, it may also be necessary to consider a legal separation or divorce (to officially terminate your partner’s inheritance rights under Colorado laws).
  • For children – When it comes to disinheriting children, it can be sufficient to exclude them from the will and other estate planning documents (e.g., simply do not name them as beneficiaries). In these situations, however, it can be helpful to explain in the appropriate document why children are being disinherited, as this may reduce future confusion and prevent disputes.

Disinheriting Beneficiaries: More Important Information

  • No contest clauses can help protect your choices – Disinheriting certain relatives can cause tension later; it may even incite people to contest your will and/or estate plan. To help protect your choices and avoid costly disputes and will contests in the future, including “no contest” clauses in your will can be essential. These types of clauses essentially stipulate that those who unsuccessfully challenge a will will forfeit all of their inheritance rights.
  • Regularly reviewing your estate plan is crucial – One of the constants in life is change, and that can impact the nature of your relationships. So, to ensure your estate plan is always up to date – and that you are giving (or not giving) to certain people in the future, make it a habit to regularly review – and update, as needed – your estate plan.

Contact a Denver Estate Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

For exceptional estate planning services & probate representation in Colorado, you can turn to the Denver estate attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC. We provide a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our clients’ estate planning, elder law and other legal needs, and we take pride in helping each of our clients and their families find the best solutions for them.

Let’s discuss your estate planning options during an initial consultation. To schedule this meeting, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Drafting Wills, Estate Planning