Throughout Southern California
View Our Practice Areas

The Difficulties of Disinheritance


Disinheriting someone can be a way to haunt a family member from beyond the grave, but there may be pragmatic reasons involved.

When it comes to estate planning, most people focus on the distribution of their assets to heirs ... but some are more concerned with not distributing assets to certain heirs. If you are among them, be forewarned that disinheritance, for whatever reasons, can lead to hurt feelings and even contentious legal battles.

A recent article from Reuters, "Disinheriting someone is not easy," illustrates some of the many reasons people choose not to leave assets to certain heirs. The reasons are as varied as the assets involved, and may include anything from hard feelings within a family to a desire to "equalize" wealth among adult children with differing degrees of financial success.

If you choose to disinherit someone, realize that some classes of heirs have legal rights that cannot be violated, such as spouses and minor children. Reuters explains it well:

Just as you cannot tell a divorce judge that you refuse to split assets or pay alimony, you cannot leave your surviving spouse's house and all of the money to a child or some other family member. Using language to disavow and disinherit your spouse will not help ... the spouse can waive the will and receive whatever he or she is entitled to under state law. Minor children are also protected by the courts. Whatever financial support the minor is entitled to receive, he or she will get, assuming the money is available.

Regardless of the reason(s) you may have to disinherit someone, be sure to discuss them with your estate planning attorney. Properly drafted legal documents can help ensure your wishes are followed, as well as prevent unintended consequences such as hurt feelings or court battles. Simply put, "disinheritance" is not necessarily an ugly word, but it can turn ugly even when you do it for the right reasons if not done properly.

For more information, please visit my estate planning website.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Find Out The Difference That Experience And Expertise Makes

Get the peace of mind that you deserve. First, attend a seminar. This will entitle you to a free initial consultation and a discounted estate planning fee. To learn more about our services or sign up for a seminar, contact us online or call us at 866-402-1805. We have offices in Torrance, Orange, Newport Beach, Pasadena and Woodland Hills.

Questions? Contact Us.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Call Now For A Free Consultation: 866-402-1805
  • ${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt}
  • Main Office: Torrance

    Torrance Office
    990 West 190th Street
    Suite 500
    Torrance, CA 90502

    Toll Free: 866-402-1805
    Map & Directions

    Orange Office
    333 City Boulevard West
    17th Floor
    Orange, CA 92660

    Toll Free: 866-402-1805
    Map & Directions

    Newport Beach Office
    5000 Birch Street
    Suite 8000
    Newport Beach, CA 92660

    Toll Free: 866-402-1805
    Map & Directions

    Pasadena Office
    790 East Colorado Boulevard
    9th Floor
    Pasadena, CA 91101

    Toll Free: 866-402-1805
    Map & Directions

    Woodland Hills Office
    5850 Canoga Avenue
    4th Floor
    Woodland Hills, CA 91367

    Toll Free: 866-402-1805
    Map & Directions

    Office map
Check out The Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis on Yelp
Check out Kavesh Minor & Otis on Yelp
Check out The Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis - Orange on Yelp
Check out The Law Firm of Kavesh Minor & Otis - Pasadena on Yelp