On July 26, 2013

Colorado residents may want to consider one woman’s disinheritance story the next time they review their estate plans. The woman admitted that she and her father had always had a contentious relationship. However, she said they had long since reconnected and moved past their issues when he passed away in 2009. Considering the positive state of their relationship at his death, she was surprised and saddened that she had been left out of his $1 million estate. It turned out that she had been disinherited because his will had last been updated in 2000, before they had reconciled.

Experts say that disinheriting a child is not uncommon, although it may not always be the most appropriate solution. One divorce expert said in a recent article that the cause of a disinheritance is usually based on poor communication, both between the parent and child and between the parent and their estate attorney. The expert said that attorneys should engage the parent in why they want to disinherit the child rather than simply transcribe their wishes into a will.

The woman who was disinherited said she doubted her father had any idea how the disinheritance would affect not only her, but the rest of her family. Her brothers, who did receive inheritances, struggled with whether they should follow their father’s wishes or split the assets with her. Everyone eventually agreed to follow the father’s wishes.

Estate attorneys said that many of the common reasons for a disinheritance can be better resolved through alternative estate documents. An attorney with estate planning experience could evaluate a client’s situation, help the client prioritize their wishes and recommend the appropriate documents to execute those wishes after the client’s death.

Source: Bloomberg, “You Want to Cut Your Kid Out of Your Will. Or Do You? “, Lewis Braham, July 23, 2013

Categories: Estate Planning

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