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Can you prevent someone from benefitting from your estate?

| Sep 26, 2018 | Uncategorized |

One of the main reasons that California residents choose to create their own personal estate plans is to take control over how their money and assets are divided and passed out after their deaths. For example, if a person dies without an estate plan in place, their estate may be distributed to their heirs based on the laws of intestacy currently included in the state code. This could mean that an heir that the decedent did not want to collect from their estate could benefit from the decedent’s passing.

In order to avoid this, an estate plan can provide an explicit set of instructions for how the estate should be distributed. If the estate creator wants to write one of their non-dependent children out of their estate, then they must make it clear through the wording of their will that they desire to prevent that individual from being a beneficiary at the time of the estate planner’s death.

Writing a non-spouse out of one’s estate may be easier than preventing a spouse from benefitting after an estate planner’s death. Spouses often have rights to the property of their partners when those partners’ die, but if a couple had a prenuptial agreement in place then the estate planner’s goal may be met. When a surviving spouse acknowledges that they have released their rights to their spouse’s property, it may be possible to eliminate them as a beneficiary.

Cutting someone out of an estate plan takes careful wording and a clear presentation of the estate planner’s intentions. Preparing such a plan may be undertaken with the help of an estate planning attorney to avoid any possible omissions or mistakes.