Not everyone gets along with their close family members. Some parents and children may become estranged, or siblings may have strained relationships that go beyond simple rivalry. As a result, when individuals create their wills and other estate planning documents, they may think about disinheriting those close family members.
Though California residents can decide what happens to their assets after their passing, it can be more difficult than some people think to disinherit family or to leave them less than the law affords. In many cases, if an heir believes that he or she should have received more, it is possible for that person to contest the will and fight for a greater inheritance. If individuals want to prevent that, they could include a “no contest” clause in the document, which would prevent a person from receiving any intended inheritance if he or she chooses to contest the will.
If disinheriting someone is a true goal, parties may also want to consider using planning options other than just a will. For instance, individuals who have payable-on-death accounts can name direct beneficiaries to receive those assets, which will not go through probate. As a result, a disinherited person has no claim to those assets or may not even know about them.
Wills and other planning tools can help California residents express their end-of-life wishes. However, it is important to understand how estate and probate laws could affect those wishes later. If individuals want to disinherit a family member, they may want to go over how to best do so with experienced estate planning attorneys who could provide reliable information.